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William H. Bonsall Professor of French and Professor, by courtesy, of History and of Political Science

Dan Edelstein

William H. Bonsall Professor of French and Professor, by courtesy, of History and of Political Science
Born in Ithaca, NY, I moved to Geneva, Switzerland when I was eleven. After attending the Collège Calvin, I studied literature at the University of Geneva; I then returned to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving my PhD in 2004. I joined the Department of French & Italian at Stanford that same year.

I work for the most part on eighteenth-century France, with research interests at the crossroads of literature, history, political thought, and digital humanities (DH). I am the author of four books (three with the University of Chicago Press, the most recent with Princeton): the first on French revolutionary Terror; the second on the genealogy of the Enlightenment; the third on the early-modern history of human rights; and I recently completed an intellectual history of revolution from Thucydides to Lenin, entitled The Revolution to Come (Princeton).

I've edited or co-edited seven volumes of essays: "Myth and Modernity" (co-edited, Yale French Studies); "The Super-Enlightenment" (Voltaire Foundation, at Oxford University); "Scripting Revolution" (co-edited with Keith Baker, Stanford University Press); "Let There Be Enlightenment" (co-edited with Anton Matytsin, Johns Hopkins University Press); "Networks of Enlightenment" (co-edited with Chloe Edmonson, Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment); "Power and Time" (co-edtied with Stefanos Geroulanos and Natasha Wheatley, University of Chicago Press), and a volume (with Jennifer Pitts) for the Cambridge History of Rights. I was a PI for the "Mapping the Republic of Letters" project, and the founding faculty director of the "Humanities + Design" research lab at CESTA.

I often teach courses on the literature, philosophy, culture, and politics of the Enlightenment; nineteenth-century French novels; the French Revolution; early-modern political thought; French intellectual culture (“Coffee & Cigarettes”); liberal education ("Education as Self-Fashioning"); and historical networks ("Networks: Ecological, Revolutionary, and Digital"). Recently, most of my teaching as been for the COLLEGE program.


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, French (2004)
Licence ès Lettres, Université de Genève, French, English, Latin (1999)