About Me

I am an historian of modern Europe, with a particular area of expertise in the age of revolutions. I have published six books, most recently the two shown above, and The West: A New History, with my colleague Anthony Grafton. I have also published academic articles in both English and French, and I contribute regularly to general interest publications on a variety of subjects, ranging from modern warfare, to contemporary French politics, to the impact of digital technology on learning and scholarship, and of course French history. I teach in the History Department at Princeton University, where I hold the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Chair in the Era of North Atlantic Revolutions, and offer courses on early modern Europe, on military history, and on the early modern French empire. Previously, I spent fourteen years at Johns Hopkins University, including three as Dean of Faculty in its School of Arts and Sciences. In 2020 I will begin a four-year term as Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton.


My current work is a comparative and transnational study of political charisma in the age of revolutions, to be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Recent projects include an edited volume (co-edited with my colleague Yair Mintzker) entitled Rethinking the Age of Revolutions: France and the Birth of the Modern World, which was published in hardcover and paperback in October, 2018 by Oxford University Press, and which includes an article of mine from the charisma project. Other recent articles include an essay on the nature of modern warfare for the collective work Une histoire de la guerre (in French), and a review essay on the history of liberalism for The New York Review of Books.


In June, 2018 I was a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. In academic year 2018-19 I am on leave from Princeton as the John and Constance Birkelund Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.


This website provides information about my books, and links to recent essays, book reviews, research materials, and the books' on-line appendices, plus some videos, and reviews of my work.


A full c.v. can be found here


David A. Bell

Sidney and Ruth Lapidus

Professor in the Era of

North Atlantic Revolutions


Department of History


Princeton University



Website updated July 2018