My broad area of interest is the intellectual history of Europe in the long eighteenth century (c. 1680-1830). I am particularly interested in the links between Enlightenment anthropology, theology, and political theory. Another significant aspect of my research concerns translation and cross-cultural transfer, especially between France and Germany. I am also interested in the history of universities, royal academies, and exiled intellectuals in the eighteenth century.
I am Senior Lecturer in European History at University College London (UCL), and a member of the editorial boards of e-Enlightenment and German History. Previous research fellowships included the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2012/13) and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at UCLA (2007).
Project: The whole human being
This project examines Enlightenment discussions of human nature as a point of departure for a reassessment of public debates in eighteenth-century Germany. By highlighting the role played by anthropological theories in wider fields of inquiry (from theology to aesthetics), I hope to shed new light on the contours of the Aufklärung while situating it within a broader European context. Among the examined issues are human perfection (or completeness), animal instincts, civic education, and Jewish emancipation.
- Language and Enlightenment: The Berlin Debates of the Eighteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2012).
- Epicurus in the Enlightenment, co-edited with Neven Leddy (Voltaire Foundation, 2009).
- “The Arbitrariness of the Linguistic Sign: Variations on an Enlightenment Theme”, Journal of the History of Ideas 73.4 (2012), 537-557.
- “Language”, in The Routledge Companion to Eighteenth Century Philosophy, ed. Aaron Garrett (Routledge, 2014), 663-683.