New Books in French Studies Podcast
Terror and Terroir: The Winegrowers of the Languedoc and Modern France
by Andrew Smith
Listen to Roxanne Panchasi's latest podcast, in which she interviews Andrew Smith about his book Terror and Terroir: The Winegrowers of the Languedoc and Modern France (Manchester University Press, 2016)
(Harvard University Press, 2015). Read Dr. Panchasi's summary below, and check out the podcast on the NBFS website.
- Andrew Smith‘s Terror and Terroir: The Winegrowers of the Languedoc and Modern France (Manchester University Press, 2016) is a political history of wine radicalism. Focused on the producers rather than the consumers of what Roland Barthes famously referred to as the nation’s “totem-drink,” Terror and Terroir examines wine politics and activisms in the Languedoc following the Second World War. In a first chapter, Smith looks closely at the memory and legacy of the “Grand Revolt of 1907,” a series of major protests that became a cornerstone of winegrower mythology in the post-45 period. Tracing the evolution of the winegrowers’ movement in the region from the mid-1940s to the late 1950s, the book looks at a variety of groups and organizations that sought to represent the interests of producers. After 1961, the Comite Regional d’Action Viticole (CRAV) dominated the scene.
Over the course of the next two decades, the CRAV engaged in a variety of forms of direct action that came to a head with the “Gunfight” at Montredon in 1976. Thinking carefully about the political violence of this and other milestone moments, the book also looks at the intersection of the Occitan and radical viticulture movements; the impact of changes at the national level on regional lives and politics; and the effects of the major forces of modernization, European integration, and globalization. Drawing on a range of material from national and regional archives and press sources to oral history interviews, Terror and Terroir combines complex and compelling storytelling with careful historical and political analysis of a movement that mobilized thousands of French citizens over decades. The book has much to offer readers interested in the histories of wine and political radicalism (in equal measure!).