Christophe Gillain

PhD candidate in Early Modern History

I am a PhD candidate at St John's College, supported by a Cambridge International Scholarship from the Cambridge Trust. My doctoral thesis, supervised by Dr Renaud Morieux, examines French noble exile in Europe during the seventeenth century. In this period, it was commonplace for rebellious or disgraced French nobles to flee to various foreign destinations, in defiance of the monarchy. I am interested in how the mobility of such figures across national frontiers shaped their identities, and what their relations with France can tell us about the workings of the Bourbon state. Previously, I completed an MA thesis at the University of Auckland on violence and affection in seventeenth-century French aristocratic memoirs. At the same university, I also completed a BA(Hons) dissertation on public perceptions of kingship in the reign of Louis XV.

Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France and Europe; the Atlantic world; mobility and transnationalism; international law; aristocratic culture and absolutism; sociability and emotions; friendship and patronage; violence; gender and masculinity; memoir-writing and self-fashioning; public opinion; kingship. 

Part II - Paper 14: Material Culture in the Early Modern World. 

HAP Seminar on Gender. 


‘The Politics of Distance: Cardinal de Retz's Exile in Europe’, paper accepted as part of a panel proposal for the Ninth Biennial Conference of the Society for Renaissance Studies, to be presented at the University of East Anglia, July 2020. Cancelled due to COVID-19.

'Violent Affection: Writing the self in three seventeenth-century aristocratic memoirs’, paper given at the conference Amour et Amitié au Grand Siècle, University of Ghent, May 2019.

‘Reluctant Travellers: French Exiles in Europe, c. 1630-1670’, paper given at the University of Cambridge Faculty of History PhD Presentation Day, February 2019.

'Amity and affection: Writing the self in seventeenth-century French aristocratic memoirs’, paper given at the University of Auckland Department of History Graduate Students’ Conference, September 2013.

‘Emotion, violence and selfhood in seventeenth-century France: The mémoires of the Sieur de Pontis’, paper given at the University of Auckland Department of History Graduate Students’ Conference, September 2012.


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