I recently did an interview with Faculti on the subject of my current work on mayoral lists and historical writing in France in the 17th century: https://faculti.net/lhistoire-urbaine-et-lhistoire-des-lignages/

My research interests focus on early modern France, particularly the urban culture of French provincial cities in the late-fifteenth through the mid-seventeenth centuries. My first book, Between Crown and Community, investigated the political culture of Poitiers, a mid-sized provincial capital from the reign of François I (1515-1547) to that of Henri IV (1589-1610). I have recently finished a second book, entitled Historical Communities: Cities, Erudition, and National Identity in Early Modern France, focused on local history writing in French provincial towns throughout  France in the period of roughly 1550-1660. I continue to be interested in questions of individual and collective memory formation and use in French early modern society, and I am working on a project organized around the concepts of memory, family, and genealogy in France from the late 16th-early 18th centuries. My interests thus embrace questions of the intersection of politics and religion, the nature of religious conflict, the relationship between localities and the state, cultural interactions between local elites and the well-known scholars of the Republic of Letters, the development of history writing from the early modern period to the present, and more generally the social, cultural, intellectual and political conditions of the early modern period.

In addition to undergraduate teaching, I welcome the opportunity to work with graduate students, as a main dissertation adviser on virtually any topic related to early modern France in the period of roughly 1450-1700 or as a committee member for students wanting to do a field in early modern Europe.

I have recently published a book entitled Historical Communities: Cities, Erudition, and National Identity in Early Modern France (Brill, 2021), on local history writing in France during the period of roughly 1550-1660.  The book explores the outpouring of local history writing during this period, with a special focus on how local scholars from a range of French cities, from large provincial capitals to much smaller towns, used available sources to craft a useful urban past. The book therefore examines networks of erudite scholars in Paris and the provinces, the exchange of information, the ways that questions such as a town’s origins could be used to make politically useful statements, the sources of historical conflict, and the ways that contentious issues such as the Wars of Religion and the Fronde were represented in subsequent history writing on the local level. The book also focuses on two figures who served as nodes of historical exchange: François de Belleforest in the 16th century and André Duchesne in the 17th century.

I am also interested in the kinds of exchange–intellectual, social, political–that took place in the process of familial memory formation and genealogical history writing in 16th-18th-century France, particularly among elite urban families and between erudite scholars and the noble families who commissioned these kinds works. I am expanding on these associations in a current book project on “Genealogy, Family, and Memory in Early Modern France.”

Together with Megan Armstrong of McMaster University and Fabien Montcher of Saint Louis University, I am currently editing a collected volume entitled “Constructing European Historical Narratives in the Early Modern World.” It will appear as a special volume published by the journal, Renaissance and Reformation.

I am continuing to pursue the question of the construction of local memory in France, especially with regard to the Wars of Religion.

I also continue to be intrigued by urban politics in French provincial cities and plan a future project on the political role of the clergy in provincial towns in the period of roughly the mid-15th century to the mid-17th century.


Historical Communities: Cities, Erudition, and National Identity in Early Modern France (Leiden: Brill, 2021). Publication Link  (This book is available to consult or download as a .pdf from the UCSB library catalogue. It is also included in the Brill “My Book” program.) Preview

Between Crown and Community: Politics and Civic Culture in Sixteenth-Century Poitiers (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2004). Preview Available from Internet Archive

Articles, chapters, and essays:

Courses for 2023-24

Hist 121C, “France in the Sixteenth Century” (fall)

Hist 194AH, “Senior Honors Research Seminar” (fall)

Hist 596, “Graduate Directed Studies: Information Technologies in Early Modern Europe” (fall)

Hist 194BH, “Senior Honors Research Seminar” (winter)

Courses Taught

Hist 4B, Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 800-1700

Hist 121A, Renaissance Italy, 1300-1530

Hist 121B, Renaissance Humanism

Hist 121C, France in the Sixteenth Century (cross-listed as French 154CA)

Hist 121D, Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Europe, 1450-1700

Hist 121F, France in the Seventeenth Century (cross-listed as French 154CB)

Hist 121Q, Undergraduate Reading Seminar in Renaissance Europe

Recent subjects:

“The Religious Cultures of Renaissance Europe”

“Reform and Religious Violence in Sixteenth-Century France”

“Popular and Elite Cultures in Renaissance Europe”

“Renaissance Monarchy: Theory and Practice”

Hist 121R, Undergraduate Research Seminar in Early Modern European History, 1450-1700

Hist 194AH-BH, Undergraduate Honors Research Seminar

Hist 201E, Graduate Reading Seminar in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Recent subjects:

             “Memory and its Practices in Europe, c. 1400-1700″

“Urban Space in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe”

“The Individual, Violence, and the State in Early Modern Europe, 1450-1750”

“1500: Change or Continuity?”

“Readings in  Sixteenth-Century France”

Hist 202, Historical Methods

Hist 215E-F, Medieval/Early Modern Graduate Research Seminar

Hist 223A-B, Modern/Early Modern Graduate Research Seminar

Under normal circumstances, I am happy to work with students wanting to do Honors Contracts, Independent Studies (Hist 199), or Independent Reading Courses (Hist 596)

UC President’s Research Award in the Humanities, 2007-2008

Professeur Invitée, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, April 2012

Guest editor of H-France Salon, Vol. 7, Issue 13: “New Directions: French Scholarship on Early Modern France

Co-editor of H-France Forum, for history in the period of the Middle Ages-17th century, 2009-22.

Professeur Invitée, Université Paris-Nanterre, November 2022.

Guest editor of H-France Salon, Vol. 14, Issue 22 (January 2023), “Colbert, Venality, and Parisian Judicial Elites during the Long Seventeenth Century: A Reappraisal by Robert Descimon.” 

Member of the Editorial Board for French Historical Studies, 2021-