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 three books (all with the University of Chicago Press): the first on French revolutionary Terror; the second on the genealogy of the Enlightenment; and the third on the early-modern history of human rights. I've also edited or co-edited six 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). I'm a co-PI for the "Mapping the Republic of Letters" project, and the founding faculty director of the "Humanities + Design" research lab at CESTA.
I'm currently at work on two book projects: an intellectual history of revolution, and a defense of core curricula in higher education. I also continue to work on a variety of DH projects.
I regularly 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").