Emmanuel DROIT


Emmanuel DROIT

Contemporary history, Assistant professor, University of Rennes 2, France

Fellowship : Octobre 2012 to June 2013

Discipline(s) : History

Area(s) of expertise : Contemporary history

Pays : France

Research project : "An International of Chekists? The cooperation between the State Security Organs of the Eastern Bloc (1956-1990)"

The Cold War led in Europe to the formation of two oppositional alliance systems. Under the direction and the control of the Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe developed between 1948 and 1953 the same political, economical and cultural patterns (the so-called "Stalinization"). In order to safeguard the "socialist order", counsellors of the Soviet secret police contributed in each People’s democracy in Europe to the creation of State Security Organs, whose goal was to be "the sword and the shield" of the Communist Parties.
From the middle of the 1950s, in the context of the destalinization, the Soviet Union encouraged behind the Iron Curtain the development of bilateral and multilateral relationships between the brother’ countries, so that it led to the development of horizontal relations within the Eastern Bloc.
With the help of East German and Polish sources, on the basis of an entangled and transnational methodological approach, this project goes beyond conventional national narratives about communism and secret police. The literature about this topic tends to overlook the transnational dimension of the cooperation and the aim of this research is to cast a gloomy light on the circulation, transfers of knowledge, know-how and technologies between the communist State Security Organs. This study will not only explore the political dimension of this cooperation but also the cultural one: with the development and the increase of the cooperation in the 1970s and the 1980s, the other major goal of this project aims to shed more light on the emergence of a common culture and sense of solidarity within this "community of Chekists".
This project tries to offer a new perspective about the History of the Eastern Bloc and especially about the process of stabilization/erosion of the Soviet Empire until the "annus mirabilis" of 1989. To sum up, it examines not only the nature and the quality of the cooperation but also the process of a failure: from 1988 to 1990, the State Security Organs were not able to prevent the fall of State Communism in Central and Eastern Europe.


Born in Lunéville, France, in 1978, Emmanuel Droit took his BA and MA degrees at University Nancy 2, before spending five years as Ph.D student in Berlin with different fellowships: fellowship of the German Exchange Academic Service (2003-2004), of the German National Merit Foundation and the Hertie Foundation (2004/2005) and the Study Foundation of the Berlin House of Representatives (2005-2006). He completed his Ph.D in 2006 at the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne with a research about the New Socialist Man at the East Berlin Schools: Actors, experiences and representations (1949-1989). From 2006 until 2008 he taught history and geography at the French-German Section (Abibac) of the International Secondary School in Strasbourg. From 2008, he has been Senior Lecturer at the University of Rennes 2, where he has been teaching European Contemporary History. From September 2011 until August 2012, he has been Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers).

His research focuses on a socio-cultural History of the GDR and the Eastern Europe during the second half of the twentieth century. He has also written articles on the connections between history and collective memory. His first book about the New Socialist Man at the East Berlin Schools is on the point of being translated into German.

Major publications

DROIT, Emmanuel. Vers un homme nouveau? L’éducation socialiste en RDA (1949-1989). Rennes : PUR, 2009.  356 p.

DROIT, Emmanuel. La Stasi à l’Ecole. Surveiller pour éduquer en RDA (1950-1989). Paris : Nouveau Monde Editions., 2009. 250 p.

DROIT, Emmanuel, KOTT, Sandrine (collab.), Die ostdeutsche Gesellschaft. Eine transnationale Perspektive. Berlin : Links Verlag, 2006.  299 p.

DROIT, Emmanuel. Jeunesse allemande et sortie de guerre. Vingtième Siècle, revue d’histoire. 2010, no 108, p. 99-111.

DROIT, Emmanuel. Mémoires officielles et cultures mémorielles de la Shoah et du Goulag dans l’Europe élargie. Vingtième Siècle, revue d’histoire. 2007, no 94, p. 101-120.