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Ending the French Revolution Talking Liberties War, Revolution, and the Bureaucratic State


Howard G. BrownHoward G. Brown

D.Phil., Oxford University, 1990
Early Modern Europe, France, politicized violence
Office: LT 606
Phone: (607) 777-4562


My most recent book, Ending the French Revolution: Violence, Justice, and Repression from the Terror to Napoleon, combines extensive archival research and a wide array of historical methods to examine the years between the Terror and the Empire. It argues that despite the ringing slogans of 1789, liberal democracy was not the most significant outcome of the French Revolution. Rather, after years of politicized violence and perverted justice, of regional revolt, endemic banditry, citizen juries, and militarized policing, France's illiberal democracy quickly gave way to a modern "security state."

I am currently writing a book tentatively entitled Violence and the Self: Personal Suffering and Collective Trauma from the French Wars of Religion to the Paris Commune. This study examines how instances of mass collective violence are experienced by individuals, how they are communicated, and the impact those communications have on non-participants. Studying this process over three centuries allows me to explore the relationship between the growing proliferation of printed images of violence and the psychological emergence of the modern self. I am also writing a thematic survey entitled Violence in the French Revolution, which is under contract with Oxford University Press, UK.

My graduate courses are designed primarily to acquaint students with recent historical debates and methodologies. My undergraduate courses stress the importance of history as a highly interpretative discipline whose value depends on rigorous treatment of evidence.

Chair of the History Department 2006-2009, 2013-

Chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, 2012-2014

Received SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2004

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Last Updated: 6/27/14