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Dan Edelstein

People

Contact:

109 Pigott Hall
650 724 9881
danedels@stanford.edu

@danedels

Office Hours:

Wed 10-12 or by apt

Focal Groups:

Affinity links:

The French Revolution
Intellectual History
political thought
The Enlightenment
human rights
digital humanities

Dan Edelstein

William H. Bonsall Professor of French

Chair, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages

Professor, by courtesy, of History

W. Warren Shelden University Fellow in Undergraduate Education

Chair of Graduate Studies, French
 

I work for the most part on eighteenth-century France, with research interests at the crossroads of literature, history, political theory, and digital humanities. My first book, The Terror of Natural Right: Republicanism, the Cult of Nature, and the French Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2009), examines how "liberal" natural right theories, classical republicanism, and the myth of the golden age became fused in eighteenth-century political culture, only to emerge as a violent ideology during the Terror. This book won the 2009 Oscar Kenshur Book Prize. My second book, entitled The Enlightenment: A Genealogy (University of Chicago Press, 2010), explores how the idea and narrative of "Enlightenment" emerged in French academic circles around the 1720's. I’ve also edited three volumes of essays, one for Yale French Studies, on Myth and Modernity, another for SVEC (Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, now the Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment) on The Super-Enlightenment; and a third, with Keith Baker, on Scripting Revolution (Stanford University Press). In addition, I’ve published articles on such topics as the Encyclopédie, antiquarianism, Orientalism, the Idéologues, revolutionary authority, and structuralism, as well as on writers including Jean-Sylvain Bailly, Balzac, Roland Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Michelet, Mallarmé, Georges Sorel, Emmerich de Vattel, and Voltaire.

At Stanford, I teach courses on the literature, philosophy, culture, and politics of the Enlightenment; nineteenth-century novels; the French Revolution; early-modern political thought; and French intellectual culture (“Coffee & Cigarettes”). I teach two Thinking Matters courses, one on "Education as Self-Fashioning," the other on "Networks: Ecological, Revolutionary, and Digital." I’ve received the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching (in 2006), the university's highest teaching honor, and the Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award (in 2011).

I’m currently working on three main projects:

On Permanent Revolution. This book-length project explores how revolution went from being the means toward a constitutional settlement, to becoming an end in and of itself. Stretching from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, it focuses in particular on the transformation of revolutionary authority during the French Revolution; on Marx's development of the concept of a "revolution in permanence"; and finally on the relation between this new model and the political violence that has often accompanied revolutions. An article from this project appeared in French Historical Studies; another is forthcoming in The Scaffold of Sovereignty, ed. Zvi Ben-Dor, Stefanos Geroulanos, and Nicole Jerr (Columbia University Press).

The Spirit of Rights. This book explores early-modern rights regimes, from the Wars of Religion to the Age of Revolutions, in France, England, and the American colonies. It pays particular attention to the French Enlightenment, and the transformations of "rights talk" during that period. An early version of this research ("Enlightenment Rights Talk") recently appeared in the Journal of Modern History; a more theoretical piece is forthcoming in Humanity.

Digital Humanities. I'm a PI on the NEH-funded digital humanities project Mapping the Republic of Letters. This project, which brings together other scholars at Stanford and around the world, aims to map the correspondence and social networks of major intellectual figures (read about our project in the Stanford Report and in the New York Times, or watch this video). A spin-off article, "The French Enlightenment Network" (co-written with Maria Comsa, Melanie Conroy, Chloe Edmondson, and Claude Willan), appeared in Fall 2016 issue of the Journal of Modern History. The tool-building part of this project has now been subsumed in the Humanities + Design Research Lab, of which I am the founding faculty director; we received another NEH grant to develop Palladio, and an ACLS grant to develop a new social network grap visualization, Fibra. This Lab is itself part of Stanford's Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, or CESTA. More recently, I have been working on the project "Writing Rights," and published an article exploring the potential of JSTOR's data portal for exploring the "great unread" of scholarship. I was also the faculty advisor for Stanford's French Revolution Digital Archive (FRDA), and collaborate regularly with the ARTFL project, notably for these two articles on the Encyclopédie.

Finally, I’m a founding editor of the journal Republics of Letters, and with J.P. Daughton, I co-direct the French Culture Workshop. 

Education

2004: Ph.D. in French, University of Pennsylvania
1999: Licence ès lettres (French, English, Latin), Université de Genève
1993: Maturité scientifique, Collège Calvin, Geneva

COURSES

ILAC 175 CAPITALS: How Cities Shape Cultures, States, and People (COMPLIT 100, DLCL 100, FRENCH 175, GERMAN 175, HISTORY 206E, ITALIAN 175, URBANST 153)

This course takes students on a trip to eight capital cities, at different moments in time: Renaissance Florence, Golden Age Madrid, Colonial Mexico City, Enlightenment and Romantic Paris, Existential and Revolutionary St. Petersburg, Roaring Berlin, Modernist Vienna, and bustling Buenos Aires. While exploring each place in a particular historical moment, we will also consider the relations between culture, power, and social life. How does the cultural life of a country intersect with the political activity of a capital? How do large cities shape our everyday experience, our aesthetic preferences, , and our sense of history? Why do some cities become cultural capitals? Primary materials for this course will consist of literary, visual, sociological, and historical documents (in translation); authors we will read include Boccaccio, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana, Montesquieu, Baudelaire, Dostoyevsky, Irmgard Keun, Freud, and Borges.

GERMAN 175 CAPITALS: How Cities Shape Cultures, States, and People (COMPLIT 100, DLCL 100, FRENCH 175, HISTORY 206E, ILAC 175, ITALIAN 175, URBANST 153)

This course takes students on a trip to eight capital cities, at different moments in time: Renaissance Florence, Golden Age Madrid, Colonial Mexico City, Enlightenment and Romantic Paris, Existential and Revolutionary St. Petersburg, Roaring Berlin, Modernist Vienna, and bustling Buenos Aires. While exploring each place in a particular historical moment, we will also consider the relations between culture, power, and social life. How does the cultural life of a country intersect with the political activity of a capital? How do large cities shape our everyday experience, our aesthetic preferences, , and our sense of history? Why do some cities become cultural capitals? Primary materials for this course will consist of literary, visual, sociological, and historical documents (in translation); authors we will read include Boccaccio, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana, Montesquieu, Baudelaire, Dostoyevsky, Irmgard Keun, Freud, and Borges.

FRENCH 175 CAPITALS: How Cities Shape Cultures, States, and People (COMPLIT 100, DLCL 100, GERMAN 175, HISTORY 206E, ILAC 175, ITALIAN 175, URBANST 153)

This course takes students on a trip to eight capital cities, at different moments in time: Renaissance Florence, Golden Age Madrid, Colonial Mexico City, Enlightenment and Romantic Paris, Existential and Revolutionary St. Petersburg, Roaring Berlin, Modernist Vienna, and bustling Buenos Aires. While exploring each place in a particular historical moment, we will also consider the relations between culture, power, and social life. How does the cultural life of a country intersect with the political activity of a capital? How do large cities shape our everyday experience, our aesthetic preferences, , and our sense of history? Why do some cities become cultural capitals? Primary materials for this course will consist of literary, visual, sociological, and historical documents (in translation); authors we will read include Boccaccio, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana, Montesquieu, Baudelaire, Dostoyevsky, Irmgard Keun, Freud, and Borges.

ITALIAN 175 CAPITALS: How Cities Shape Cultures, States, and People (COMPLIT 100, DLCL 100, FRENCH 175, GERMAN 175, HISTORY 206E, ILAC 175, URBANST 153)

This course takes students on a trip to eight capital cities, at different moments in time: Renaissance Florence, Golden Age Madrid, Colonial Mexico City, Enlightenment and Romantic Paris, Existential and Revolutionary St. Petersburg, Roaring Berlin, Modernist Vienna, and bustling Buenos Aires. While exploring each place in a particular historical moment, we will also consider the relations between culture, power, and social life. How does the cultural life of a country intersect with the political activity of a capital? How do large cities shape our everyday experience, our aesthetic preferences, , and our sense of history? Why do some cities become cultural capitals? Primary materials for this course will consist of literary, visual, sociological, and historical documents (in translation); authors we will read include Boccaccio, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana, Montesquieu, Baudelaire, Dostoyevsky, Irmgard Keun, Freud, and Borges.

DLCL 100 Capitals

This course takes students on a trip to eight capital cities, at different moments in time: Renaissance Florence, Golden Age Madrid, Colonial Mexico City, Enlightenment and Romantic Paris, Existential and Revolutionary St. Petersburg, Roaring Berlin, Modernist Vienna, and bustling Buenos Aires. While exploring each place in a particular historical moment, we will also consider the relations between culture, power, and social life. How does the cultural life of a country intersect with the political activity of a capital? How do large cities shape our everyday experience, our aesthetic preferences, , and our sense of history? Why do some cities become cultural capitals? Primary materials for this course will consist of literary, visual, sociological, and historical documents (in translation); authors we will read include Boccaccio, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana, Montesquieu, Baudelaire, Dostoyevsky, Irmgard Keun, Freud, and Borges.

DLCL 13 Humanities Core: Great Books, Big Ideas -- Europe, Modern (FRENCH 13, PHIL 13)

This three-quarter sequence asks big questions of major texts in the European and American tradition. What is a good life? How should society be organized? Who belongs? How should honor, love, sin, and similar abstractions govern our actions? What duty do we owe to the past and future? This third and final quarter focuses on the modern period, from the rise of revolutionary ideas to the experiences of totalitarianism and decolonization in the twentieth century. Authors include Locke, Mary Shelley, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber, Primo Levi, and Frantz Fanon.

FRENCH 208 When Europe Spoke French: The Power of Culture and the Culture of Power

For much of modern history (ca. 1600-1900), French culture occupied a similar global place that American culture does today: it was the preferred "other" culture in the realms of entertainment, research, and polite conversation. As with America today, the French state was also a military superpower in European and global affairs. This course will explore how French culture and government combined to create this new model of culture based on refinement and the projection of power. Expressed through language, literature, and architecture (most famously, Versailles), this elite form of culture would come to symbolize education and social status from Lisbon to St-Petersburg. Readings will include historical accounts of early-modern France and Europe, as well as works by Corneille, Molière, Racine, Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau.

DLCL 225 Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities Focal Group (DHFG) will promote faculty and graduate research in the digital humanities through lectures series, praxis workshops, curriculum, and the identification and development of digital humanities research projects, especially those eligible for grant-funding opportunities. DHFG sponsors a lecture series and convenes regular workshops alternating between praxis and theory. These activities provide fora in which faculty and graduate students can share work in progress, discuss the state of the field, and identify important research that should be shared with the DLCL and broader academic communities. Crucially, the DHFG will promote digital research on underrepresented literatures and cultures to counteract the English-language dominance of much work in the field.

DLCL 225 Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities Focal Group (DHFG) will promote faculty and graduate research in the digital humanities through lectures series, praxis workshops, curriculum, and the identification and development of digital humanities research projects, especially those eligible for grant-funding opportunities. DHFG sponsors a lecture series and convenes regular workshops alternating between praxis and theory. These activities provide fora in which faculty and graduate students can share work in progress, discuss the state of the field, and identify important research that should be shared with the DLCL and broader academic communities. Crucially, the DHFG will promote digital research on underrepresented literatures and cultures to counteract the English-language dominance of much work in the field.

DLCL 50 Humanities House student research workshop

For Humanities House student residents; research workshop.

DLCL 50 Humanities House student research workshop

For Humanities House student residents; research workshop.

DLCL 50 Humanities House student research workshop

For Humanities House student residents; research workshop.

DLCL 225 Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities Focal Group (DHFG) will promote faculty and graduate research in the digital humanities through lectures series, praxis workshops, curriculum, and the identification and development of digital humanities research projects, especially those eligible for grant-funding opportunities. DHFG sponsors a lecture series and convenes regular workshops alternating between praxis and theory. These activities provide fora in which faculty and graduate students can share work in progress, discuss the state of the field, and identify important research that should be shared with the DLCL and broader academic communities. Crucially, the DHFG will promote digital research on underrepresented literatures and cultures to counteract the English-language dominance of much work in the field.

ITALIAN 369 Introduction to Graduate Studies: Criticism as Profession (COMPLIT 369, DLCL 369, FRENCH 369, GERMAN 369)

A number of faculty will present published work and discuss their research and composition process. We will read critical, theoretical, and literary texts that address, in different ways, "What is a World?" Taught in English.

GERMAN 369 Introduction to Graduate Studies: Criticism as Profession (COMPLIT 369, DLCL 369, FRENCH 369, ITALIAN 369)

A number of faculty will present published work and discuss their research and composition process. We will read critical, theoretical, and literary texts that address, in different ways, "What is a World?" Taught in English.

FRENCH 369 Introduction to Graduate Studies: Criticism as Profession (COMPLIT 369, DLCL 369, GERMAN 369, ITALIAN 369)

A number of faculty will present published work and discuss their research and composition process. We will read critical, theoretical, and literary texts that address, in different ways, "What is a World?" Taught in English.

DLCL 369 Introduction to Graduate Studies: Criticism as Profession (COMPLIT 369, FRENCH 369, GERMAN 369, ITALIAN 369)

A number of faculty will present published work and discuss their research and composition process. We will read critical, theoretical, and literary texts that address, in different ways, "What is a World?" Taught in English.

DLCL 225 Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities Focal Group (DHFG) will promote faculty and graduate research in the digital humanities through lectures series, praxis workshops, curriculum, and the identification and development of digital humanities research projects, especially those eligible for grant-funding opportunities. DHFG sponsors a lecture series and convenes regular workshops alternating between praxis and theory. These activities provide fora in which faculty and graduate students can share work in progress, discuss the state of the field, and identify important research that should be shared with the DLCL and broader academic communities. Crucially, the DHFG will promote digital research on underrepresented literatures and cultures to counteract the English-language dominance of much work in the field.

DLCL 225 Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities Focal Group (DHFG) will promote faculty and graduate research in the digital humanities through lectures series, praxis workshops, curriculum, and the identification and development of digital humanities research projects, especially those eligible for grant-funding opportunities. DHFG sponsors a lecture series and convenes regular workshops alternating between praxis and theory. These activities provide fora in which faculty and graduate students can share work in progress, discuss the state of the field, and identify important research that should be shared with the DLCL and broader academic communities. Crucially, the DHFG will promote digital research on underrepresented literatures and cultures to counteract the English-language dominance of much work in the field.

DLCL 225 Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities Focal Group (DHFG) will promote faculty and graduate research in the digital humanities through lectures series, praxis workshops, curriculum, and the identification and development of digital humanities research projects, especially those eligible for grant-funding opportunities. DHFG sponsors a lecture series and convenes regular workshops alternating between praxis and theory. These activities provide fora in which faculty and graduate students can share work in progress, discuss the state of the field, and identify important research that should be shared with the DLCL and broader academic communities. Crucially, the DHFG will promote digital research on underrepresented literatures and cultures to counteract the English-language dominance of much work in the field.

DLCL 189A Honors Thesis Seminar

For undergraduate majors in DLCL departments; required for honors students. Planning, researching, and writing an honors thesis. Oral presentations and peer workshops. Research and writing methodologies, and larger critical issues in literary studies.

COMPLIT 369 Introduction to Graduate Studies: Criticism as Profession (DLCL 369, FRENCH 369, GERMAN 369, ITALIAN 369)

A number of faculty will present published work and discuss their research and composition process. We will read critical, theoretical, and literary texts that address, in different ways, "What is a World?" Taught in English.

PUBLICATIONS