Department of History



Nicole Dombrowski-Risser

Professor of History

PhD New York University, 1995

Office:   LA 4218
Phone:   410-704-2907
Fax:   410-704-5595
Web site:

Professor Nicole Dombrowski-Risser


Nicole Dombrowski-Risser earned her degrees from University of Wisonsin (BA) and New York University (Ph.D.,1995). Her dissertation was titled “Beyond the Battlefield: Civilian Flight in the Exodus of May –June 1940 in France” and was overseen by Professors Tony Judt and Mary Nolan. She is the author of France under Fire: German Invasion, Civilian Flight and Family Survival during World War II which is being published by Cambridge University Press, and the editor of Women and War in the Twentieth Century: Enlisted with or without Consent (Routledge 2004). Her research insterests are in France and Europe, 1789-present, especially social history, history of women and the family,history of gender and war, and rural history.


Dr. Dombrowski-Risser’s current project is “A French Family Farm: Two Hundred Years of Survival against War, Weather and Market Change on an Olive Farm in Provence.” This is a book-length study which takes as a focus the olive farm La Blachette located in Nyons, France in the Rhones-Alpes region. Using family archives, land records, regional agricultural journals and personal testimonies, I tell the story of survival of one family farm which survived against the obstacles of political turmoil, phyolloxera epidemic, climate crisis and shifting markets to carve out a niche for a family and a way of life swiftly disappearing in European and around the globe. A French Family Farm applies the tools of social and women’s history to write the biography of one farm which survived against the odds by combining entrepreneurialism, collectivist agricultural strategies and market innovation. In 2010 she was made a Knight of the Order of the Black Olive of Nyons, France, her research on French olive agriculture.

Dr. Dombrowski-Risser is the coordinator of the Paul Gantt Nuremberg Papers Digital Archive Collection at Towson university, an on-going project to digitize and annotate the Towson University holdings of Nuremberg Papers from the Special Crimes Division which prosecuted German Industrialists for using slave labor, contributing to genocide of European Jewry, contributing to the waging of aggressive war and violating the Peace. (

Selected Publications:

Recent Lectures and Presentations

  • “Anti-Militarism and Pacifism---No Match for Fascism: The Great War’s Imprint on the French and German Literary Imagination.” Panel: Cultural Responses to the Great War: Performance, Pacifism, and Popular Images. Society for French Historical Studies. Los Angeles, CA. March 25, 2012.
  • “’Who is a non-combatant and how can we know?’ Writing the History of the Modern Complexities of Experience and Categorization of Non-Combatants in Comparative Global Historical Perspective, 1776-Present.” Panel: Blurred Lines: Civilians as Soldiers and Non-Combatants within the Armed Forces. Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation-Sponsored Civilians and Warfare in World History Conference. Florida Gulf Coast University. Fort Meyers, FL. February 23-25, 2012.
  • “Farming Sustainability Strategies in Turn-of-the-Century Provence.” Panel: Making it Work: Global Challenges to French Farming in the Long 20th Century. Western Society for French History. Portland, Oregon. November 12, 2011.
  • “Uncovering the History of War Crimes and Genocide using the Paul Gantt Collection,” Jewish Museum of Maryland and Baltimore County Public School’s Holocaust Education Summer Workshop, August 4, 2011.
  • “Writing the History of Human Rights Abuses from the Ground Up” Hofstra University, October 18, 2010
  • “Tony Judt: The Teaching and Practice of Social History: Socialism in Provence Reconsidered,” The Remarque Institute, Kandersteg Switzerland, 2010.

Recent Book Reviews:

  • “Review of Tammy M. Proctor, Civilians in a World at War, 1914-1918” The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 84. No. 1 (March 2012), pp. 166-167. Published by the University of Chicago Press.
  • “Review of John Cerullo, Minotaur: French Military Justice and the Aernoult-Rousset Affair,
    DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2010. Pp. 298. $40.00 (ISBN 978-0-875-80433-0).” Law and History (August 2012), 13-14. Published by the Cambridge University Press.
  • Review: Daily Lives of Civilians in Wartime Twentieth-Century Europe. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008 by Nicholas Atkin.” History: Review of New Books, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Spring 2009): 104-105.
  • “Review: France during World War II: from Defeat to Liberation by Thomas R. Christofferson, and Michael S. Christofferson. New York: Fordham University Press, 2006.” H-France, Vol. 7 (June 2007), No. 74.
  • “Review: The Forgotten French: Exiles in the British Isles, 1940-44 by Nicholas Atkin.” H-France Review Vol. 5 (August 2005), No. 89.
  • “A Review of Joy Damousi’s Living With The Aftermath: Trauma, Nostalgia and Grief in Post-war Australia (Cambridge, 2003).” Journal of Social History (December, 2004).
  • “Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War By Tammy M. Proctor.” French Studies 59, no. 1 (2005): 119-120.
  • “Locating the Displaced: A Review of Jennifer Hyndman’s Managing Displacement: Refugees and the Politics of Humanitarianism.” Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research (January, 2003).
  • “Review of Antoinette Burton, Politics and Empire in Victorian Britain: A Reader. (New York: Palgrave, 2001).” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 3:1 (2002).
  • “Review of The Welfare State’s Other Crisis: Explaining the New Partnership between Nonprofit Organizations and the State in France by Claire F. Ullman.” International Labor and Working-Class History. No. 54 (Spring 2001).
  • “Wither the Working-Class? A Review of the 1996 French Historical Studies Conference,” International Labor and Working-Class History. No. 51 (Spring 1997)

Awards and Honors

  • Knight of the Order of the Black Olive, Nyons, France
  • Towson University Faculty Development Award
  • Franco-American Fellowship Grant
  • Andrew Mellon Faculty Summer Research Award
  • Princeton University Council of the Humanities and Social Sciences Summer Research Stipend
  • French Cultural Services Grant
  • NYU Prize Teaching Fellowship for distinction in teaching

Classroom Awards, Fall 2013

  • Victor Hugo Award for Outstanding Writing by an Undergraduate: Kenny Nealy for his essay on Black City and the Paris Commune.
  • The Michelet 19th-Century Historian's Award for Outstanding Final Exam: John Osborne and Joey Cane for perfect performance on a 200 point exam.
  • The Adolphe Thiers Award for Staying Power: Rachel Harmon
  • The Louis Pasteur Award for Genuine Curiosity in Scholarship: Andy Moynihan for writing two reflective papers on topics he had no initial interest in, yet explored each with genuine reflectiveness, questioning and skepticism to produce authentic historical analysis and commentary (Black City and Review of Linda Nochlin's work).






University Police

Closings & News
410-704-NEWS (6397)

Text Alerts
Sign up now