Dr Joseph La Hausse de Lalouvière

Photo of Dr Joseph La Hausse de Lalouvière

BA (Cambridge), MA & PhD (Harvard)

Research Fellow


I was born in Johannesburg, grew up mostly in Cambridge, England, studied for my history BA there, and then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts for my PhD at Harvard, which I completed in 2020. I was the EHS Tawney Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research in London in 2020-21, until the start of my research fellowship at Emmanuel.


I am a historian of France and the French empire with a focus on slavery, law and economic life. My past and current research projects have explored how reactions against the revolutionary changes of the late eighteenth century enabled the persistence of slavery and related forms of coercion and inequality in the nineteenth century.

My book project, ‘Enslaving Citizens: The Overthrow of Emancipation in the Revolutionary Caribbean’, investigates the mass enslavement of French citizens of African descent in the colonial Caribbean in the early nineteenth century. It reveals how imperial warfare overturned general emancipation, side-lined the revolutionary principles of liberty and equality, and ushered in a new era of enslavement. It also shows how in response to racially targeted assaults on their liberty, re-enslaved people, illegally traded captives and undocumented people of African descent pieced together the shards of their fractured citizenship by documenting evidence of their economic entitlements and negotiating degrees of independence.

Alongside this project, I have researched French clandestine participation in the transatlantic trade in African captives after the illegalization of that trade in the nineteenth century. I have also examined the connections between slavery and French Enlightenment discourse in the eighteenth-century Indian Ocean world. With Professors David Todd (Sciences Po) and Mélanie Lamotte (UT Austin), I co-convene an international research network on ‘Slavery and French Economic Life’ through the Centre for History and Economics in Paris.

I am embarking on new research that investigates how citizens and officials in nineteenth-century France and its colonial empire used exceptions within laws enshrining civic equality to remove the rights of many fellow citizens with a view to expropriating them.