Historian of France Named to Endowed Chair

John M. Merriman has been appointed the Charles Seymour Professor of History, by vote of the Yale Corporation.

A renowned historian, Professor Merriman is known particularly for his expertise on the economic, social and political history of France during the 19th century. His publications include “The Agony of the Republic: The Repression of the Left in Revolutionary France, 1848-51,” “The Red City: Limoges and the French Nineteenth Century” and “The Margins of City Life: Explorations on the Nineteenth-Century Urban Frontier.” Last year his “A History of Modern Europe since the Renaissance” was published in two volumes: “From the Renaissance to the Age of Napoleon” and “From the French Revolution to the Present.”

Professor Merriman has edited and coedited several volumes, including “1830 in France,” “Consciousness and Class Experience in Nineteenth-Century Europe,” “For Want of a Horse: Chance and Humor in History” and “Edo and Paris: Urban Life and the State in the Early Modern Era” with J.L. McClain and U. Kaoru. He is currently completing a study of a village and its region in the Bas Vivarais. Titled “The State, the Municipal Police and the People in France During the First Half of the Nineteenth Century,” the study will be published by Oxford University Press.

A sought-after lecturer, Mr. Merriman has given many presentations in the United States, Canada and Europe to academic organizations and the general public. In 1991, for example, he presented an overview of 19th-century cities and suburbs for Radio France Culture; he discussed the topic “Lyon and its Region” for the BBC’s “Open University” in 1993; and last year he was featured on A&E television’s “Biography” series on the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

At Yale, Professor Merriman is known for his work both in- and outside the classroom. He has been described as “an exciting lecturer” who encourages students to think critically and creatively about the past.

Mr. Merriman joined the Yale faculty in 1973 as assistant professor of history, a year after receiving his Ph.D. in history and sociology from the University of Michigan. He was named associate professor in 1978 and professor in 1983. He served as master of Branford College, 1983-91, and was a resident fellow of Calhoun College 1974-75 and 1976-81. He has chaired the Committee on Teaching in the Residential Colleges, the Council on West European Studies, and the Committee on International Education at Yale. He has twice been a member of the Athletic Committee.

A fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center, 1982-85, Professor Merriman has received a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and a Morse Fellowship from Yale. He was named Directeur d’etudes associe a l’Ecole des Hautes-Etudes en Sciences Sociales Paris in 1987. His professional affiliations include serving as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities and on the editorial board of French Historical Studies. He is a member of the American Historical Association and the French Historical Studies Association.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325