Dr Mona Ozouf has been awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for History 1998 in recognition of her innovative approach to the French Revolution.
Unlike many others in the field, Dr Ozouf has taken neither a political nor a biographical approach to the French Revolution, thus avoiding the pitfalls of the subject. From a cultural-historical and anthropological angle, she has presented the Revolution as a popular event. Dr Ozouf studied the mentality of the French bourgeoisie during the Revolution, and the use of festivals and other cultural manifestations as a means to a revolutionary end. Festivals appear to have contributed significantly to the change in values and the nation's unification. Her pioneering book on the festivals of the French Revolution has changed our perspective on the period and has suggested new avenues for historical research. While maintaining intellectual integrity and refraining from politicising, she has presented a compelling new image of the French Revolution that had so far remained hidden.
Mona Ozouf holds a special place among the historians of our period, both as an eminent specialist on the interaction between culture and politics since the Age of the Revolutions, and as an author with a extraordinary ability to convey a comprehensive vision of modern history to a broad public. Dr Ozouf has an unparalleled grasp of the subtle interplay between unity and variety - the interplay between nation and region, between the realism of politics and the utopia of celebration, between the unitary Citizen's Republic and the perception of individual differences, between egalitarian democracy and the need for a dream, and between Europe and the singularity of France.
Mona Ozouf is a historian who has specialised in the French Revolution. She is Emeritus Research Director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, France.