Welcoming Professor Stephen Sawyer as 2022 Kratter Visiting Professor in European History

Stephen Sawyer

Stephen W. Sawyer joins the Stanford History Department in Spring 2022 as Kratter Visiting Professor in European History. An expert in of history and theory of democracy, Professor Sawyer has  published and taught extensively on modernity, democratic action, and social contract in Europe since 1800s.

Professor Sawyer received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has held academic positions and fellowships at the Ecole Normale Supérieure-rue d’Ulm, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and Sciences Po. Currently, he is the Ballantine-Leavitt Professor of History and Director of the Center for Critical Democracy Studies at American University of Paris (France). He has served on the editorial board of the Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales and as the Associate Editor for its English version since 2012. Appointed Directeur de publications of The Tocqueville Review/La Revue Tocqueville in 2014, he founded the online platform Tocqueville21 in 2017.

Professor Sawyer’s research program articulates a history and theory of democracy through the mode of popular magistrature, administration and public regulation. His research advances along two dimensions: first, a critical intellectual history featuring a close rereading of key texts and authors that may be read surprisingly differently when one places democracy – rather than liberalism or republicanism – at the center of our histories of political modernity. Second, the project turns on a rediscovery and re-prioritization of the variety of substantive and concrete activities, programs, and policies that have constituted democratic action. To these ends, he has published nine books, including Demos Assembled: Democracy and the International Origins of the Modern State, 1840-1880 (University of Chicago Press, 2018), Regulation and the Birth of the Democratic Social Contract, 1810-1850 (forthcoming), In Search of the Liberal Moment: Democracy, Anti-totalitarianism and Intellectual Politics in France since 1950 (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2016); Michel Foucault, Neoliberalism and Beyond (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019). The international, historical and theoretical dimensions of his research program have culminated into a series of co-edited volumes, including “Beyond Stateless Democracy” (Tocqueville Review, Spring 2015), “A Comparative History of the French and American Democratic States” (Tocqueville Review, 2012) and Boundaries of the State in US History (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

During his Stanford residency, Professor Sawyer will present a number of workshop papers, including in the Political Theory Workshop and in a one-day conference on the history of democracy slated for May 27, 2022. He is also available to meet with Stanford faculty members and graduate students until June 15, 2022.