I teach modern political thought and intellectual history at the University of Virginia. I work primarily in the field of democratic theory and study how revolutionary popular agency is expressed in political thought and culture. Beyond that I maintain interests in gender and sexuality, political violence, the history of the human sciences, colonialism and empire, and the history of the left.
My first book, The Virtues of Violence: Democracy Against Disintegration in Modern France (Oxford University Press, 2020), explored why popular agency frequently expressed itself as regenerative violence in France’s long nineteenth century. I’m also editor of a special issue of New Political Science (April 2022) on “Violence,” which is now published as Violence: A Reappraisal (Routledge, 2023)
I’m at work on two book projects. The first, Revolutionary Mathematics: Universal Suffrage and its Utopian Pasts, reconstructs revolutionary conceptions of “the voice of the people” forged during the struggle for universal suffrage from the 1848 European revolutions to the heyday of anticolonialism after the Second World War. A second project, Freud Against Empire: An Experimental History, maps how an international cohort of midcentury radicals—Surrealist poets, painters, ethnographers, psychiatrists, and communists in France, Martinique, Cuba, and the United States—deployed psychoanalysis to undermine civilizational and global hierarchies. Other essays have appeared in places like Modern Intellectual History, Political Theory, and the American Political Science Review.
My book collection, small but growing, is at librarything.