Edward Berenson

Professor of History; Director, Institute of French Studies

University of Rochester, PhD 1981

Office Address: 

Institute of French Studies, 15 Washington Mews



Field of Study: 

Modern Europe

Research Interests: 

Cultural history; colonialism; history and memory.

Curriculum Vitae


Edward Berenson is a cultural historian of modern Europe. He has mostly worked on nineteenth and twentieth century France, but his recent research is comparative and transnational. His study of imperial heroes focuses on Great Britain as well as France, and his new book on the history of the Statue of Liberty brings the United States into the picture. He is currently at work on a history of modern Europe since 1500 to be published by Oxford University Press. Beyond his work on empire and colonialism, Berenson is interested in the history and meaning of celebrity, fame and charisma, having co-authored and co-edited a book on this subject with Eva Giloi of Rutgers University. Another of Berenson's projects involves the relationship between history and memory, between the social and political uses of the past and the construction of memories in an individual's brain. He is particularly interested in the memorialization of traumatic events in historical museums, monuments, and other public commemorative sites. In addition to serving as professor of history, Berenson is director of NYU's Institute of French Studies and NYU director of the Center for International Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, a collaborative project with France's Centre national de recherche scientifique. He received the American Historical Association's Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award in 1999 and was decorated by French President Jacques Chirac as Chevalier dans l'Ordre de Merit in 2006.

Selected Works:


Europe in the Modern World*, forthcoming Oxford University Press, 2016

*Blood Libel in an American Town: Massena 1928*, forthcoming W.W. Norton

PopulistReligionBOOK.jpgPopulist Religion and Left-Wing Politics in France. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984





TheTrialBOOK.jpgThe Trial of Madame Caillaux. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992; paperback, 1993; Korean translation 2007




HerosOfEmpireBOOK.jpgHeroes of Empire: Five Charismatic Men and the Conquest of Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010; French translation.  Paris: Perrin, January 2012. 





ConstructingCharismaBOOK.jpgConstructing Charisma: Fame, Celebrity and Power in 19th-Century Europe, co-author and co-editor with Eva Giloi.  New York: Berghahn Books, 2010. 





FrenchRepBOOK.jpgThe French Republic: History, Values, Debates (co-author and co-editor with Vincent Duclert and Christophe Prochasson). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011. 


BerensonStatue.jpgThe Statue of Liberty. A Transatlantic Story (Icons of America Series). New Haven: Yale University Press, April 2012; French translation. Paris: Armand Colin, May 2012.


“The Politics of Divorce in France of the Belle Epoque: The Case of Joseph and Henriette Caillaux,” American Historical Review, February 1988.

"France, a Political Romance," Why France: American Historians Reflect on their Enduring Fascination. Ed. Stephane Gerson and Laura Downs. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006), 137-150.  French translation, "France une idylle politique," in Pourquoi la France? Paris : Seuil, 2007.

"Jean-Baptiste Marchand and the French Imperial Myth," Yale French Studies,  May 2007. 

"Unifying the French Nation : Savorgnan de Brazza and the Third Republic," Music, Culture, and National Identity in France, 1870-1939.  Ed. Barbara Kelly. Rochester : University of Rochester Press, 2008). 

"L’Histoire culturelle aux Etats-Unis,"  L'histoire culturelle: un tournant mondial? Ed. Philippe Poirrier. Dijon: Editions universitaires de Dijon, 2008 and Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008), 51-63. 

"Les historiens américains et l’histoire culturelle française," Romantisme 143 (January 2009). 

“Le charisme et la construction des héros de l’empire en Grande Bretagne et en France, 1880-1914,” Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 185 (December 2010).

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Updated on 05/02/2016