- IU Bloomington
As a historian of France, I study the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries because the two are linked--more than they are separated--by the French Revolution. Both my The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture (Harvard, 2000; new edition with foreword by Adam Gopnik, 2020) and my Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution (Harvard, 2020) cover the period 1750-1850.
My teaching and writing emphasize revolutionary eras as times of uncertainty and on-going change, when existing institutions seem no longer valid and legitimate means for adjudicating differences no longer exist. Institutions--be they economic and political ones like money, or cultural ones like restaurants--are slow to create and equally slow to fail. But when they collapse, it seems that everything changes at once. I have written about how insights from eighteenth-century contexts may help us understood the current moment for The Washington Post and The Atlantic. See: