Charles Walton Reader in History at the University of Warwick and Associate Researcher of Institut d’histoire de la Révolution française at Université de Paris-La Sorbonne. He prepared his BA at the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD at Princeton University. Before joining the History Department at Warwick, he taught at Sciences Po (Paris), the University of Oklahoma (Norman) and Yale University. His research focuses on Old Regime, Enlightenment and Revolutionary France, with emphases on democratization, rights and obligations, liberalism and socio-economic justice.
His prize-winning book, Policing Public Opinion in the French Revolution: the Culture of Calumny and the Problem of Free Speech (2009, paperback 2011), explores the themes of honour, public opinion and political violence. It shows how freedom of expression became a contentious, radicalizing issue before and during the Revolution. He has edited a collection of essays in honour of Robert Darnton on print culture and the Enlightenment, Into Print: Limits and Legacies of the Enlightenment (2011). He has recently written a review of Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of the musical Les Misérables for Foreign Affairs and an essay on redistribution in the contexts of the French and Egyptian Revolutions (1789, 2011) for La Vie des Idées.
His current book project, From Eden to Terror: Reciprocity, Redistribuiton and the French Revolution, examines how cultural patterns of redistribution and notions of reciprocity changed in the transition from a clientelistic, hierarchical regime to a regime of civil equality and market freedom in the Revolution's early years. It relates these changes to the process of radicalisation and the crisis of political legitimacy. The study focuses especially on the politics of patriotic giving and taxes; new kinds of patronage and corruption; economic liberalisation and re-regulation; and economic and social rights.