JOHNSTON-WHITE, Rachel

Postdoctoral Fellow

Academic Career

I hold a PhD in History from Yale University (2017); an MPhil in History (2013) and MA in History (2012), also from Yale University; and an MPhil in Modern European History from the University of Cambridge (2011). I completed my BA degree in History and French Studies with High Honors at Emory University, fully funded through the Robert E. Woodruff Scholarship.

I have previously been a Visiting Researcher at Sciences Po, Paris; the University of Glasgow; and Aberystwyth University. I was also a Guest Fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna in 2015.

An article, “A New Primacy of Conscience? Conscientious Objection, Catholicism and the State during the Algerian War," has been published with the Journal of Contemporary History:
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0022009417714315

Research Interests

I am currently revising my dissertation, “Christianity in Conflict: Religion and Conscience in France, 1940-1962,” for publication. The project traces the “Protestantization” of Catholic conscience in the decades before Vatican II and the impact of this transformation on ideas about human rights. I argue that during the Second World War, a vanguard of French Christian intellectuals and activists put forward a “resistance theology” that defined the conditions for legitimate disobedience to the state. This principle of conditional obedience to authority retained its political force even after 1944, coming to fruition during the French wars of decolonization. The changes that these Christians won in government policy and public opinion illustrate how ideas about human rights emerged from the friction between anti-authoritarian activism and the conservative institutions of Church and State.

Teaching

At the Diplomatische Akademie, I teach a seminar course on Religion and Human Rights in Contemporary Europe. My other teaching interests include the history of Modern France and the French Empire; the World Wars and the Holocaust; the history of Christianity in contemporary Europe; and Europe and the world in the era of decolonization.

I am supervising four Masters theses in the 2017-2018 academic year and welcome inquiries from prospective students for the 2018-2019 academic year. I can be reached at rachel.johnston-white@da-vienna.ac.at.