Caroline Winterer

Willilam Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics and of Education
Department Chair
Ph.D., University of Michigan, History (1996)
A.M., University of Michigan, History (1991)
B.A., Pomona College, History (1988)
Caroline Winterer
Caroline Winterer is William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, and Professor by courtesy of Classics. She specializes in American history before 1900, especially the history of ideas, political thought, and the history of science. She is currently writing a book on the history of deep time in America, to be published by Princeton University Press.

She teaches classes on American history until 1900, including American cultural and intellectual history, the American Enlightenment, the history of science, and the trans-Atlantic contexts of American thought.

She is the author of five books, including most recently Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to Our Digital Era (Chicago, 2020), edited with her Stanford colleague Karen Wigen. Assembling a group of distinguished historians, cartographers, and art historians, the book shows how maps around the world for the last 500 years have ingeniously handled time in the spatial medium of maps.

Her book American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason (Yale, 2016), showed how early Americans grappled with the promises of the Enlightenment – how they used new questions about the plants, animals, rocks, politics, religions and peoples of the New World to imagine a new relationship between the present and the past, and to spur far-flung conversations about a better future for all of humanity. Earlier books and articles have explored America's long tradition of looking at the ancient classical world for political, artistic, and cultural inspiration. She received an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution for mapping the social network of Benjamin Franklin:….

She is currently accepting graduate students. For more information on the PhD program in the Department of History, visit:

Featured News

September 24, 2019
Professor Caroline Winterer is a star of Stanford’s humanities scene, having headed the Stanford Humanities Center from 2013 until Sept. 1, 2019. She completed her Ph.D. in history at the University of Michigan and has taught history at Stanford since 2004. Her research focuses on the history of ideas, political theory and the history of science...
July 3, 2019
On the historic day of July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress, Thomas Jefferson, its primary author, went on a small shopping spree and bought seven pairs of women’s gloves. According to Jefferson’s records from that day, he also bought a thermometer, said Caroline Winterer, a professor of history in the...
November 13, 2018
The 18th century may not come to mind in a conversation about social networks. But Stanford historian Caroline Winterer sees the period as the first age that witnessed extensive communication among people across the world. Hand-written letters were the social media posts of that time, and a new social platform of the era was the United States...


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