Laura Mason

Laura Mason

Senior Lecturer
Curriculum Vitae
Gilman 301

Research Interests: Film and history; French film; popular culture

Laura Mason (BA, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1981; PhD, Princeton University, 1990) is trained in European cultural history. Before joining Johns Hopkins in 2011, she was an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia and a member of the board of the Athens Film Arts Institute in Athens, GA.

She has been a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and grants from the Chateaubriand Foundation, ACLS, and the Willson Center for the Humanities at the University of Georgia. She has also been a fellow at the Columbia University Institute for Scholars at Reid Hall and twice received the J. Hatton Howard III Honors Award for Teaching from the University of Georgia.

Formerly an assistant editor at Common Knowledge (1993-1997) and book reviews editor for Rethinking History (1997–2002), she is currently a member of the Advisory Board of Rethinking History and the Scholarly Council for the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at Florida State University.

She shares an appointment in the Department of History and the Program in Film and Media Studies.

Laura has published on biography and film in Rethinking History, and her essay on Marie Antoinette in Film was included in the Routledge anthology, Marie Antoinette: Writing on the Body of the Queen.   Her film reviews have appeared in Fiction and Film for French Historians and the American Historical Review. She has delivered papers and lectured on French film, including the work of directors Claire Denis, Olivier Assayas, and Arnaud Desplechin, and the teaching of film and history.

Laura’s historical work focuses on relationships between politics, print media, and oral culture in 18th-century France.

Laura Mason’s work in film and media is informed by her training as a cultural historian. Courses like Postwar Paris on Film, French Masculinities, and Women Making Movies in Europe use fiction films and documentaries as primary sources to investigate how directors and audiences have confronted such issues as urbanization, war and revolution, gender, race, and immigration across the 20th and 21st centuries. History & Film uses movies as secondary sources to examine visual and fictive representations of the past, broadening our sense of what history is and who it belongs to.


The French Revolution: A Document Collection, compiled, edited, translated with Tracey Rizzo. Houghton-Mifflin, 1998.

Singing the French Revolution: Popular Culture and Revolutionary Politics, 1787-1799. Cornell University Press, 1996.

Select Articles

“Celebrating Popular Revolution: Jean Renoir’s La Marseillaise.” Fiction and Film for French Historians vol. 8 #3 (Dec 2017).

“The Culture of Reaction: Demobilizing the People after Thermidor.” French Historical Studies vol. 39 #3 (Aug 2016).

“Thermidor and the Myth of Rupture.@ David Andress (ed) Oxford Handbook of the French Revolution. Oxford University Press, 2015.

“Introduction,” Forum on “Thermidor and the French Revolution,” French Historical Studies vol. 38 #1 (Jan 2015).

Benoît Jacquot, Les Adieux à la Reine. Fiction and Film for French Historians v. 3 #2 (Nov 2012).

“Après la conjuration: le Directoire, la presse, et l’Affaire des Egaux,” Annales historiques de la Révolution française #354 (Dec. 2008).

"Looking at a Life: Biography on Film," Rethinking History, vol. 1, #3 (1997).

"'We're just little people, Louis': Marie-Antoinette on Film,” Filmhistoria, vol. 4, #3 (1994).