"The Dangers Within: Fears of Imprisonment in Old Regime France”
Jeffrey Freedman, Yeshiva University
Jeffrey Freedman is Professor of History at Yeshiva University. His research, which focuses on 18th-century Europe, encompasses the history of the book, media and mediation, and the history of emotions. He is the author of A Poisoned Chalice (Princeton, 2002), a microhistory of a crime committed in late eighteenth-century Zurich that unleashed debates about the nature of evil and physiognomy as a diagnostic tool. A forerunner of the ‘true crime’ genre, this work inspired the novel Das Gesicht by the Swiss writer Dominick Bernet. Most recently, he has published Books Without Borders in Enlightenment Europe (University of Pennsylvania, 2012), a study of the transnational circulation of French books in the late 18th century. His current project charts the emergence of a new culture of fear in Old Regime France drawing on archival materials such as police dossiers as well as print sources ranging from political, medical, and philosophical treatises to memoirs and novels.
The Eighteenth-Century Seminar, sponsored by the History Department, provides an interdisciplinary forum for scholars interested in all aspects of eighteenth-century history and culture in Europe and across continents. Open to faculty and students from Princeton and nearby institutions, it hosts four invited speakers each semester, and a one-day symposium in April on a particular theme.