Suzanne Langlois

Associate Professor

Member of the Graduate Program in History
Member of the Graduate Program of the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs

   Langlois, Suzanne (cv March 2018) Glendon profile.pdf

Suzanne Langlois teaches Modern European History and Twentieth-Century History. Specializing in French History, she has published on the history, memory and representation of the French Resistance, and on the resources of film archives and collections for twentieth- century history.

Her current research projects examine film propaganda commissioned by the United Nations at the end of the Second World War, first to support the mission of UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) and later under the direction of the United Nations Film Board.

Modern European History

World conflicts - Twentieth-century

Film history

History, McGill University
History, University of Montreal

Research Interests Keywords

Cultural history of world conflicts - twentieth-century

The uses of visual collections and film archives in modern history

Propaganda for peace / postwar international organizations


  • Book project on the life and work of French filmmaker and producer Jean Benoit-Lévy, and his connections with American institutions and international organizations. La grande mission du cinéma. Les années américaines de Jean Benoit-Lévy, 1935-1956.
  • Study series of UNRRA films (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) 1943-1947
  • Book project: The United Nations Film Board: An Internationalist Film Experiment, 1947-1949


  • Standard Research Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2007-2012).
    Research topic: The role of film in the civilian mission of the United Nations in Europe (1943-1950). 

  • La Résistance dans le cinéma français 1944-1994. De 'La Libération de Paris' à 'Libera me', Paris, L’Harmattan, 2001, 444 p.  
Journal Articles

  • Short article « Étudier le patrimoine cinématographique des organisations internationales », Bulletin de la Société historique du Canada, rubrique ‘Coup d’œil sur la recherche historique au Canada’, 40.3, Fall 2014, p. 27-28. 
  • Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film, Ian Aitken, ed., New York and London, Routledge, 3 vols, 2006. Entries on filmmakers Jean Benoit-Lévy and André Sauvage, and on short films Le Retour (Henri Cartier-Bresson and Richard Banks, 1946) and La Zone. Au pays des chiffonniers (Georges Lacombe, 1928).
  • “Would the Allies arrive in Time? The Liberation of Paris on ABC”, Journal of Popular Film & Television, Spring 1998, pp. 34-41. 
  • “Images That Matter. The French Resistance in Film, 1944-1946”, French History, December 1997, pp. 461-490.
Book Chapters

  • "1944: The launch of the Allied film campaign for civilian relief", eds. Kirrily Freeman and John Munro, Reading the Postwar Future. Textual Turning Points from 1944 (Oxford and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), 146-161
  • “And Action! UN and UNESCO Coordinating Information Films, 1945-1951”, ed. Poul Duedahl, A History of UNESCO. Global Actions and Impacts (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), p. 73-94.
  • “Neighbours half the world away”. The National Film Board of Canada at work for UNRRA (1944-1947)”, eds. Robert Teigrob and Colin McCullough, Canada and the United Nations. Legacies, Limits, Prospects (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016), p. 44-81.
Other Publications

Articles in edited volumes

  • "Réflexions autour du film The Monuments Men (2014)", Ethnologies, thème « Géopolitique, conflits et patrimoine », 39(1), 2017, p. 139-154

  • "La contribution du cinéma documentaire en faveur de l’Administration des Nations unies pour les secours et la reconstruction (UNRRA) 1944-1947", Lendemains de guerre, Roch Legault and Magali Deleuze, eds, Montréal, Lux Éditeur, 2006, pp. 129-147.

  • “Entre mémoire et histoire: retour sur L’Armée des ombres”, in Robert Belot, dir., Résistances européennes, une mémoire cinématographique, Belfort, Université de Belfort-Montbéliard, 2005, p. 55-71, suivi du « Débat sur L’Armée des ombres », pp. 73-80.
  • “Making Ideal Histories : The Film Censorship Board in Postwar France”, in Fran Lloyd and Catherine O’Brien (eds.), Secret Spaces, Forbidden Places : Rethinking Culture, Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2000, pp. 107-119.
  • "Unarmed Civilians in the Midst of Total War. The Example of French Women Resisters during the Second World War", Thomas Schneider (dir.), Kriegserlebnis und Legendenbildung. Das Bild des 'modernen' Krieges in Lietratur, Theater, photographie und Film, Osnabrück, Universitätsverlag Rasch, 1999, Vol. III, p. 1039-1048.

Book reviews

  • Maria Fritsch, The American Marshall Plan Film Campaign and the Europeans: A Captivated Audience? (London, Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), Central European History, September 2019, 52(3), 538-540.

  • Zoë Druick, Projecting Canada. Government policy and documentary film at the National Film Board (Montreal/Kingston : McGill – Queen’s University Press, 2007), TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 19, Spring 2008, 201-205.

  • H. Stuart Hughes, Consciousness and Society. The Reorientation of European Social Thought 1890-1930, H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences OnLine (, H-Ideas Retrospective Reviews series, octobre 2000.
  • Catherine Saouter, (dir.), Le Documentaire. Contestation et propagande (Montréal, XYZ éditeur, 1996), Cinémas, « Cinélekta 2 », Vol. 8, n° 3, Spring 1998, p. 161-168.
  • Ian K. Easterbrook et Susan Waterman MacLean (dir.), Canada and Canadians in Feature Films : A Filmography, 1928-1990 (University of Guelph, Ontario, 1996), Études canadiennes / Canadian Studies, n° 44, June 1998, p. 132-133.
  • Museum International (Unesco Paris), n° 184, 1994, dossier Cinema Museums and Archives, Les Cahiers de l’Imaginaire, n° 16, Summer 1998, p. 145-147.
  • José Gotovitch, Pascal Delwit et Jean-Michel De Waele, L’Europe des communistes (Bruxelles, Complexe, 1992), Labour/Le Travail, n° 35, Spring 1995, p. 376-378.

Visiting Professor

Dec. 2017: Visiting Professor for graduate seminars Masters Erasmus Mundus DYCLAM (paysage culturel) and Master HCP (Histoire Civilisations Patrimoines), Université Jean Monnet, Saint-Étienne (France) : « Cinéma et conflictualité »; « Le patrimoine cinématographique des organisations internationales »; « Cinéma et patrimoine ».  

Guest speaker

« Monuments Men: La guerre pour sauver le patrimoine victime de guerre », colloquium Géopolitique, conflits & Patrimoine, Université Jean Monnet, Saint-Étienne (France), 11 Dec. 2017; presentation, screening and Q&A at the Cinémathèque de Saint-Étienne.

“The Coordination of Films : UN and UNESCO (1945-1951)”, UNESCO Anniversary Conference, Maison de l’UNESCO, Paris, 28-29 October 2015

“Our friends in need. The National Film Board of Canada at work for UNRRA (1944-1947)”, UN at 70 Symposium, Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University, Hamilton, 12 June 2015.

“Jean Benoit-Lévy and public health propaganda in international context (1935-1949)”, Information, persuasion, propagande. Le film médico-sanitaire comme mode de communication entre science, médecine, sphère publique et société en France, 1900-1960, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Strasbourg, 20 June 2014.

Inaugural conference on a cycle of films on the French Resistance during the Second World War, Centre mondial de la Paix, Verdun (France), 16 March 2010.

Presentation of archival films produced during the years 1944-1947 for UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration), Balzan Conference Post-War Reconstruction in Europe, Birkbeck College, University of London, 3-5 June 2008.

Colloquium history and film : Résistances européennes : une mémoire en chantier, Laboratoire de recherche RECITS, Université de Technologie de Belfort Montbéliard, 2-3 décembre 2004.

Presentation of films on the French resistance, summer seminar of the National Endowment for the Humanities, War and Memory : Postwar Representations of World War II and the Occupation in France, Susan R. Suleiman, Center for European Studies, Harvard University, 10-12 July 1995.

Scholarly papers

That All May Learn (1949): the power of literacy”, The Annual Conference of the Film Studies Association of Canada, Panel The United Nations on Film, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 4 June 2019

“The UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948-1949): Visual strategies for a common humanity”, Conference Culture & International History VI: Visions of Humanity, Freie Universität, Berlin, 7 May 2019.

“Circuits of French Moving Pictures in 1930s New York”, HoMER Network Conference – Circuits of Cinema. Histories of Movie and Media Distribution, Ryerson University, Toronto, 24 June 2017.

“On Distant Shelves. The sounds and images of the filmstrip UNRRA Goes into Action (1945)”, conference of the Entangled Media Histories (EMHIS) research and teaching network, Tracing Entanglements in Media History, University of Lund (Sweden), 18 May 2017.

Blanche et Marie (1985): A Film about women in the French Resistance”, symposium Gender & Historical Film and Television, Gender & History, University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, 6 May 2017.

“Mission to New York – 1935. French Educational and Medical Motion Pictures”, Society for French Historical Studies, panel on “Scientific, Artistic, and Cinematographic Education in Modern France”, Colorado Springs, 17 April 2015.

“Paradoxes of UN internationalism in film”, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, panel on  “Orphan Documentary and the Global Imaginary, 1948-1967”, Montréal, 26 March 2015.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a visual challenge (1948-1949)”, The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, panel “Gendered Justice”, Toronto, 25 May 2014.

“Neglected sources: The postwar films of the United Nations”, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, panel “Useful Media and the global public sphere”, Seattle, 21 March 2014.

“Knocking on all Doors: a Jewish Family’s Journey out of France in 1941”, journée d’études “New Perspectives on World War II France and its Colonies”, University of Toronto, 15 March 2013.

« Histoire(s) d’un cinéaste réfugié : Jean Benoit-Lévy à New York, 1941-1950 », Société d’histoire de Toronto, 18 Junuary 2012.

« Rupture et retour? Jean Benoit-Lévy entre New York et Paris », Society for the Study of French History, University of Cambridge, 15 July 2011.

“A risky change-over: United Nations films and the transition to peace at the end of the Second World War”, IAMHIST (International Association for Media and History), University of Copenhagen, 8 July 2011.

“The case of UNRRA filming in the Ukraine and Byelorussia (1947)”, Canadian Historical Association, Montréal, Concordia University, 1 June 2010.

 « L’UNESCO et le Conseil du cinéma des Nations unies : la coordination de l’information cinématographique (1945-1951) », conference UNESCO and the Cold War, Heidelberg, 4-5 March 2010.

 « La mise en images des droits universels : un défi d’information publique pour les Nations unies, 1948-1950 », Groupement interuniversitaire pour l’histoire des relations internationales contemporaines, Université de Montréal, 25 February 2010.

 « Le cinéma et la paix. Réflexions sur les après-guerres », conference Regards croisés sur les deux guerres mondiales, Université de Caen (France), 29-30 November 2007.

“A Filmmaker in exile: Jean Benoit-Lévy in New York 1941-1950”, Society for French Historical Studies, Houston, 15-17 March 2007.

« Histoire d’un film prototype : In the Wake of the Armies : UNRRA (ONF, 1944) », Colloque Media History in Canada / Histoire des médias au Canada, séance ‘Media and war / Les médias et la guerre’, Ryerson University, Toronto, 1 June 2006.

Our friends in need. The contribution of the National Film Board of Canada to European reconstruction 1944-1948”, conference After Fascism : Re-Democratization of Western European Society and Political Culture since 1945, Archives of the Bruno Kreisky Foundation and the Renner Institut, Vienna, 19-21 May 2005.

“Not enough of anything. The precarious life of women in post-war Europe”, colloquium Gender, Security and (In)security, UQAM, Montréal, 1 April 2005.

“From Sierra de Teruel to Espoir. The attempted political takeover of André Malraux’s film on the Spanish Civil War”, conference War in Film, Television, and History, Film and History League, Dallas, 11-14 November 2004.

« Le cinéma documentaire au service de l’Agence des Nations unies pour la reconstruction », Colloquium Lendemains de guerre, Collège militaire royal du Canada, Kingston, 11-12 March 2004.

« La création du Conseil du cinéma des Nations unies (1946-1947) », Colloque de l'Association québécoise d'études américaines (AQÉA), Montréal, 29 October 2002.

“War and Justice in France. The Political and ideological dimension of reconciliation”, séance ‘Justice and National Reconciliations : Some Historical Perspectives’, European Social Science History Conference, The Hague (Netherlands), 28 February 2002.

« Problématiques de la représentation de la guerre au cinéma », Colloque international en sociologie et histoire Les générations au cinéma, Ottawa, 11 May 1999.

« Les missions du cinéma. L’ambiance de la reprise du cinéma français dans l’après-guerre », Colloquium Cinéma et société française, 66e congrès de l’ACFAS, Québec, 11 May 1998.

“An Ideal France : The Film Censorship Board as Historian”, international colloquium Secret Spaces / Forbidden Places, Hailsham (UK), 24 April 1998.

“Other Images of modern war : Unarmed civilians resisting in the midst of total war”, international symposium The Experience of War and the Creation of Myths, Erich Maria Remarque-Zentrum, Osnabrück (Germany), 8 March 1998.

“Searching for the Just and Righteous : The Holocaust in French Film (1970-1995)”, International Scholars Conference on The Holocaust and the Churches, University of Washington, Seattle, 2 March 1998.

“French-speaking Film Professionals Interpret the Cold War – France and Québec (1945-1955)”, XVIIe international conference of IAMHist (International Association for Media and History), Salisbury State University, Maryland, 30 July 1997.

« Pour une contribution du cinéma à l’historiographie », Colloque Histoire, cinéma, société : questions de méthode, Association internationale des sociologues de langue française (AISLF), Trois-Rivières, 16 May 1997.

“The Image of the Resistance in French Film (1946)”, Conference World War II : A Dual Perspective (1946 and 1936), Siena College, Loudonville (NY), 30-31 May 1996.

« Regards sur les femmes dans la Résistance. Cinquante ans de cinéma français », section Histoire et Colloque Sociologie du cinéma et de la télévision, 64e congrès de l’ACFAS, Montréal, 16-17 May 1996.

“Visual Sedimentation : The Documentary Record and Holocaust Films”, joint session of the Société canadienne pour l’étude des idées européennes and the Association canadienne des études cinématographiques, Congrès des sociétés savantes, Université du Québec à Montréal, 3 June 1995.


 Other public presentations

« Un cinéaste en exil. Les années américaines de Jean Benoit-Lévy, 1941-1950 », joint seminar York University and University of Toronto, France – Histoire et sciences sociales, Toronto, 23 February 2007.

" Les cinéastes s’emparent de l’histoire », for the graduate seminar HST 6010 Sciences et pratiques historiques, Université de Montréal, 18 November 2002.

« Rosa Luxemburg », Living and Learning in Retirement, Glencon College, 24 February 2006.

« La photographie et le cinématographe dans la France fin-de-siècle: les images du réel au service de l'éducation », for the seminar HIS 538A Histoire intellectuelle de l'Europe contemporaine, Université du Québec à Montréal, 21 October 1999.

 “Postwar Film and the History of the French Resistance (1944-1946)”, Seminar Series, Department of History, McGill University, 5 March 1996.


 “Canada’s National Film Board and the World. Proposals for a Research Agenda”, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Montréal, 29 March 2015.

« Itinéraires collectifs et individuels », teaching workshop for the Holocaust Education Week’s activities for French-speaking high school teachers, Journée de formation professionnelle sur l’enseignement de l’Holocauste, Glendon College, 6 November 2012.

 “The Visual in History : Television, Film, and Photos”, History Thursdays. Questions of method and interpretation, York University, 3 April 2008.

« Regard sur le monde. Les films du Conseil du cinéma des Nations unies, 1945-1950, théorie et méthodologie des sources cinématographiques en histoire », Les Jeudis d’histoire, Groupe d’Histoire de Montréal, Université de Montréal, 21 February 2008.

“Film at the service of peace and democracy. New sources for the history of the United Nations (1943-1950)”, series ‘Historian’s Craft’, Department of History, York University, 7 December 2005.

« Les archives cinématographiques et audio-visuelles », workshop on archives, Graduate Program in History, York University, 8 March 2005.

Research grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2007-2012)

Title: Le rôle du cinéma dans la mission civile des Nations unies en Europe (1943-1950).