François Furstenberg


Gilman 306
On leave Spring 2018
Curriculum Vitae


My research focuses on the history of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. My first book, In the Name of the Father: Washington’s Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation (2006), examined how a complex and evolving image of George Washington in 19th-century print culture promoted U.S. nationalism, and what the image of Washington’s slaveholding had to say about the relationship between slavery and nationalism in the post-revolutionary period. One particular interest in the book focused on meanings of consent in 19th-century America, on their relationship to slavery, and on the formation of a particular kind of American liberal subjectivity.

Since then, my interests have pushed outward, to explore U.S. history from more international perspectives. My second book, When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees who Shaped a Nation (2014), seeks to connect the U.S. to the French Atlantic World in the 18th-century Age of Revolutions. It follows a group of French émigrés who fled the French Revolution and settled in Philadelphia, where they integrated into some of the most exalted political and financial networks of the young nation. Through these figures—which include the diplomat Talleyrand, the duc de LaRochefoucauld-Liancout, the philosophe Volney, French officer, vicomte de Noailles, and the lawyer and bookseller Moreau de Saint-Méry—the book examines early U.s. political culture, its economic life, and major geopolitical issues bearing on Louisiana and the Caribbean.

Other research interests focus on the early American West, on early American historiography and particularly on the historian Frederick Jackson Turner, and on larger strains of political culture and intellectual history.