Jessica Riskin

Professor of History
Department Vice-Chair
A.B., Harvard University, History and Science (1988)
PhD, University of California at Berkeley, History (1995)
Jessica Riskin
Jessica Riskin received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She at MIT for several years before coming to Stanford, and has also taught at Iowa State University and at Sciences Po, Paris. Her research interests include early modern science, politics and culture and the history of scientific explanation.

Riskin is the author of Science in the Age of Sensibility: The Sentimental Empiricists of the French Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2002), which won the American Historical Association's J. Russell Major Prize for best book in English on any aspect of French history, and the editor of Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life (University of Chicago Press, 2007) and, with Mario Biagioli, of Nature Engaged: Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present (Palgrave, 2012). Her latest book is The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Debate about What Makes Living Things Tick (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

Featured News

December 16, 2019
Los Angeles Review of Books Pinker's Pollyannish Philosophy and Its Perfidious Politics Jessica Riskin “INTELLECTUALS HATE REASON,” “Progressives hate progress,” “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery.” No, wait, those last two are from a different book, but it’s easy to get mixed up. Steven Pinker begins his latest — a manifesto...
November 6, 2018
Congratulations to  Jessica Riskin, whose book The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick  (Chicago, 2016) has been named one of the most influential books of the past 20 years by the Chronicle of Higher Education.  The New Canon: What's the most influential book o the past 20 years? Each...


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