The image and historical legacy of Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) continues to be highly contested in France. The 2012 Presidential Election in France is now fueling a new round of debates about the figure of Jeanne d’Arc and the place that the “maid of Orléans” should occupy in French history. Conservative Catholics and Front National politicians have long claimed Jeanne d’Arc as a devout and nationalist leader of France. Other social and political groups have also tried to claim to represent the legacy of Jeanne d’Arc.
Jeanne d’Arc provides an important model of gender and violence in French history. The religious dimensions of Jeanne d’Arc’s political agenda and military campaigns make her case significant for students of comparative religious violence and civil warfare.
Le Monde reports on current uses of the image of Jeanne d’Arc by French politicians, historians, and popular writers during the 2012 elections so far. [Follow sidebar links for related articles on politicians’ use of Jeanne d’Arc.]