Interview of Emmanuel Laurentin, radio producer of “La Fabrique de l’Histoire” (The Fabrica of History)

at "France Culture" Radio (National French Radio)


by Jean-Michel Dijan

Published at the France Culture Papiers N°14

(Site de l'emission d' E. Laurentin)


Translation of selected excerpts

"The past is full of surprises"

(…) he concluded one of his lessons as follows: "The mystery of linear B, Mycenaean greek writing, was solved by a pilot of the Royal Air Force. Till next week!"  He had such a sense of dramaturgy and suspense that I owe it to him to have taken again the path of history studies later.


With the intention to teach?


Yes, but not for long. I failed the public sector history teacher competition and then turned to journalism studies without regrets. (…) I then joined France Inter Radio, then France Culture Radio (…).

I was practicing the discipline that would not cease to passionate me and I was doing my favorite medium, the radio. From this point onwards, my practice of history drifted apart from the university practice: I had to put together the arts of story-telling, the mode of testimonies and all this by conserving a certain historic precision in the preparation of interviews.

Today I am teaching “History of journalism” at the master of History at the Political Sciences in Paris.

The distinctive feature of France Culture was the production of history documentaries, a kind that no other radio would produce.


We had treated equally well the arrival of rock in France or the dispute of the euromissiles, Larzac, the mystery of the departure of de Gaulle at Baden-Baden in 1968 (...)


I learnt at that time how the pleasure of radio consisted of both preparing a documentary with montage and mix and also debating the same subject in front of a passionate audience.

Then we got interested in the history that we call either international or global or connected.

Social history, abandoned for a while is now moving on more strongly than a few years ago.










Notes de Dictionnaire

"la fabrique" - Dictionnaire



a) Vx. Construction (d'un édifice, spéc. d'une église). 

b) P. méton. Ensemble des biens matériels d'une église paroissiale, revenus affectés à son    entretien, gestion matérielle de ces biens et revenus. Fabrique paroissiale.

a) Vieilli. Construction qui orne, décore un jardin, un parc. 




a) Vieilli. Action de fabriquer

b) P. anal. et au fig. (Quasi-)synon. création, invention.

2. P. méton. [Gén. accompagné d'un adj.] Manière dont un objet est fabriqué



Vieilli (pour la grande industrie).
1. Établissement industriel qui transforme les produits semi-traités ou les matières premières en objets manufacturés