Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Former Member of Staff: Dr Stephane Van Damme

Academic Profile

 

  • 2007-2009: Associate Professor in Modern French History, University of Warwick.
  • 2007-2009: Director of the Warwick Eighteenth-Century Centre.
  • 2003-2007: Research Scholar at the Oxford CNRS Unit (Maison Française) and Senior Visiting Research Scholar at the Modern History Faculty, University of Oxford.
  • 2001-2003: Research Scholar at the CNRS, Centre Alexandre Koyré, (Research Centre in the History of Science and Technology), EHESS, Paris.
  • 1999-2001: Junior Research Fellow at the Collège de France (Paris), assistant of Daniel Roche (chair of the History of the French Enlightenment).
  • 1995-1999: Junior Research Fellow, University of Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne)
  • 2000: PhD in History, University of Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne).
  • BA (1991) and MA (1993) at the University of Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), Agrégé d'histoire (1995).

 

Undergraduate Modules Taught

 

Postgraduate Modules Taught
  • Contribution to the module 'Historical Research: Theory, Skills and Method' for the Graduate Programme

     

Selected Publications
Books

L’Epreuve libertine. Morale, soupçon et pouvoirs dans la France baroque (Paris: CNRS Editions, 2008), 279 pages.

Paris, capitale philosophique de la Fronde à la Révolution (Paris : Editions Odile Jacob, collection Histoire, 2005), 311 pages.

Le Temple de la sagesse. Savoirs, écriture et sociabilité urbaine (Lyon, 17-18e siècles) (Paris : Editions de l’EHESS, Civilisations et société, 2005), 516 pages.

Descartes. Essai d’histoire culturelle d’une grandeur philosophique (XVIIe-XXe siècle) (Paris : Presses de Science Po, 2002), 353 pages.

Edited books and special issue

-With Nicolas Offenstadt, Luc Boltanski, Elisabeth Claverie (eds), Affaires, scandales et grandes causes. De Socrate à Pinochet (Paris : Editions Stock, 2007).

- Stéphane Van Damme (ed.), « Faut-il avoir peur des Cultural Studies ? », Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, 2004, 51-bis.

- Stéphane Van Damme (ed.): « Discipliner la ville : l’émergence des savoirs urbains (17e-20e siècle) », Revue d’Histoire des Sciences Humaines , n°12, 2005.

-Claudia Moatti and Stéphane Van Damme (eds.), « La mobilité intellectuelle en Méditerranéen, de l’Antiquité à l’époque moderne », Mélanges de l’Ecole Française de Rome. Italie et Méditerranée, 2007, tome 119-1.

-Antonella Romano and Stéphane Van Damme (eds.), « Sciences et villes-mondes », Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, 55-2, avril-juin 2008.

-Etienne Anheim, Antoine Lilti et Stéphane Van Damme (éds.), « Histoire et philosophie », Annales. Histoire et sciences sociales, 2009, January-February, n.1.

 

Recent Articles (2005-to present)

-« Les sciences humaines à l’épreuve de la ville : les enjeux d’une archéologie des savoirs urbains (XVIIe-XXe siècles), Revue d’histoire des sciences humaines, (2005), n°12, pp. 3-17.

-« Les jésuites lyonnais et l’espace européen de la presse savante (1690-1714) », XVIIe siècle, (juillet 2005), n°228, pp. 499-512.

-« Culture scientifique et culture rhétorique : crise ou mutation de la poétique des savoirs dans la Compagnie de Jésus en France (1630-1730) », Archives internationales des sciences, n°154, (juin 2005), pp. 55-69.

-« ‘The world is too large’. Philosophical Mobility and Urban Space in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Paris”, French Historical Studies, Vol. 29, n°3 (Summer 2006), pp. 379-405.

-« The Dutch Galileo ? The greatness of Huygens’s science (Review essay) », Notes and records of the Royal Society, (May 2006), vol. 60, n. 2, pp . 219-220.

-With Claudia Moatti, « La mobilité intellectuelle en Méditerranée. Procédures de contrôle et d’identification », Mélanges de l’Ecole Française de Rome. Italie et Méditerranée, 2007, tome 119-1, pp. 125-127.

-With Antonella Romano, « Penser, structurer et contrôler la mobilité intellectuelle dans la catholicité post-tridentine. Les enseignants jésuites et l’espace méditerranéen », Mélanges de l’Ecole Française de Rome. Italie et Méditerranée, 2007, tome 119-1, pp. 185-206.

- Antonella Romano et Stéphane Van Damme, « Sciences et villes-mondes : penser les savoirs au large (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle) », Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, 55-2,avril-juin 2008, pp. 7-18.

-« La grandeur d’Edimbourg. Savoirs et mobilisation identitaire au XVIIIe siècle », Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, 55-2,avril-juin 2008, pp. 152-182

-« De la vie du laboratoire à la théorie cyborg. Trajectoires de l’anthropologie des sciences aux Etats-Unis (1979-2007) », L’Homme. Revue française d’anthropologie, “Miroirs transatlantiques”, 187-188, 2008, pp. 393-412.

-Etienne Anheim, Antoine Lilti et Stéphane Van Damme (éds.), « Quelle histoire de la philosophie ? », Annales. Histoire et sciences sociales, 2009, January-February, n.1, pp. 5-11.


Book Chapters (2005-to present)

-« Le corps professoral du collège», Les jésuites à Lyon (XVII-XXe siècles), eds. Etienne Fouilloux and Bernard Hours, (Lyon : Presses de l’ENS de Lyon, 2005), pp. 52-69.

- « Un modèle de transmission universitaire ? La circulation des savoirs cartésiens en Europe », in Les Universités en Europe, eds. Thierry Kouamé, Frédéric Garrigues and Jean-Pierre Vittu, (Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne, 2005), pp. 211-225.

-« Aux marges de l’Académie. Rumeurs, échanges savants, polémiques : les stratégies locales des correspondances entre Paris et Lyon (1700-1724) », in Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire et Anthony MacKenna eds., Réseaux de correspondance à l’âge classique (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle), (Saint-Etienne, Publications de l’Université de Saint-Etienne, 2006, pp.135-146.

-Avec Nicolas Offenstadt, « Introduction », in Luc Boltanski, Elisabeth Claverie, Nicolas Offenstadt et Stéphane Van Damme (dir.), Affaires, scandales et grandes causes. De Socrate à Pinochet (Paris, Editions Stock, « Les essais », 2007).

-« Grandeur, affaire et épreuve libertine au XVIIe : le cas Théophile de Viau », in Luc Boltanski, Elisabeth Claverie, Nicolas Offenstadt et Stéphane Van Damme (dir.), Affaires, scandales et grandes causes. De Socrate à Pinochet (Paris, Editions Stock, « Les essais », 2007), pp. 151-176.

-« Forewords : Expertise in capital cities », in Christelle Rabier ed., Fields of expertise. Paris and London since 1600, Cambridge, Cambridge Scholar Press, 2007.

-With Antonella Romano, « Paris – Rome, XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles », in Christian Jacob (ed.), Les lieux des savoirs (Paris, Albin Michel, 2007), pp. 1165-1185.

- “ Francois Garasse ”, in Dictionary of seventeenth century Philosophy, edited by Luc Foisneau (Bristol, Thoemmes, 2008).

-With Maria-Pia Donato and Antoine Lilti, « La sociabilité culturelle des capitales à l’âge moderne : Paris, Londres et Rome (1650-1820) », in Les capitales culturelles en Europe, eds. Christophe Charle et Daniel Roche, Paris, Champs-Vallon, 2009.

-"Hur skapas an fransk filosofik kanon? Fran spridandet av manuskript till konstruktionen av Descartes samlade verk", in Katarina Leppänen och Mikela Lundahl, eds, Kanon ifragasatt. Kanoniseringsprocesser och makten över vetandet (Riga, Gidlunds Förlag, 2009), pp. 184-199 (translated in sweedich by Jonas Magnusson).

-« Le collège de la Trinité, lumière de Lyon à l’âge baroque » in Gérard Sabatier (dir.), Claude-François Ménestrier, les jésuites et le monde des images (Grenoble, PUG, 2009).

-« Ménestrier, la Savoie et la nébuleuse Guichenon », in Gérard Sabatier ed., Claude-François Ménestrier, les jésuites et le monde des images (Grenoble, PUG, 2009).

-« Violences fondatrices ? Les épreuves aux origines de l’identité libertine sous l’Ancien Régime », in Vincent Azoulay et Patrick Boucheron eds., Les violences intellectuelles de l’Antiquité au XXe siècle (Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 2009).

-with Janet Dickinson, « Courts and centers », in Beat Kumin (ed.), The European World, 1500-1800. An Introduction to Early Modern History, London-New York, Routledge, 2009, pp. 261-270.

-"Une historicité tenue à distance", Christian Delacroix, François Dosse, Patrick Garcia (dir.), Historicités, Paris, La Découverte, 2009.

Research

Jesuit studies

 

The first major research project in this area was my dissertation which addressed the issue of the Jesuit conception of the City in the wake of the application of the Counter-Reformation in France. It was published in 2005, Le Temple de la Sagesse. The book aimed to scrutinize the role played by Jesuit professors in the making of provincial culture during the seventeenth and the eighteenth century. The Jesuit College should not only be considered as an educational structure or the basis of the religious community. In addition, it fulfilled an important cultural role within the cities of the Old Regime. I argued that the Jesuit conception of urban culture consisted of creating a new site of knowledge, a new intellectual community, the college, within urban and political space. Because of the international reputation of the Society of Jesus, this structure became available within provincial centres such as Lyon as a means of gaining international recognition. I highlighted several features of this process. The first was the literary and publishing activity of the Jesuit Professors. The Jesuit Order was very active in the diffusion of written culture in cities. The second line of research dealt with the development of oral and ritual communication within the city, including the politics of reading. Thirdly, this enquiry extended the analysis of urban cultural facilities to embrace scholarly practices such as observatories and collections. Jesuits went as far as turning colleges into public centres of knowledge and played an important role in the development of Provincial Academies.

 

Restaging intellectual persecutions : A Cultural History of Philosophy

 

My second book was a post-doctoral project and attempted to restage Cartesian culture in Modern Europe. As you know, it is a commonplace to equate Descartes with Frenchness. In my book on the subject published in 2002, I wanted to understand how a very abstract and obscure philosopher could have been transformed into a national emblem? How could quintessentially a French philosopher become a universal reference point far beyond the field of Philosophy? The book starts at the death of Descartes in 1650 and traces the development of a Cartesian culture to the present day. This starting point led me to bring into connection some very different approaches (urban history, history of science, the history of the book, the history of education, the history of reading, political history, colonial history) in order to describe Cartesianism as a social and cultural phenomenon in all its complexity. From the Eighteenth Century, Descartes was no longer seen as an outsider. Indeed he was integrated into the pantheon of glorious French figures. But from the Revolution he was also identified as a representative of the Old Regime. Through the figure of Descartes, I wished to underline the fact that the universalization of his philosophy was achieved in very different contexts: local identity (urban and Parisian identity), intellectual European networks through the Republic of letters and international congres during the nineteenth-century, the formation of the nation during the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, during the interwar period Descartes was adopted both by royalist and right-wing writers and by the Communist Party, and there was also a world-wide scene in the context of decolonization during the 1970s.

 

I am currently finishing a book based on a case studies : the trial of a libertine poete Theophile de Viau in 1623-1625. This is an attempt to reassess the history of intellectual persecutions by importing tools from social history and social sciences (especially pragmatic sociology). During the secenteenth century, new currents of philosophy (cartesianism but also libertinism or radical philosophy) tried to define a collective identity in terms of practices of thinking, writing, publishing and reading which contested the orthodoxy of the established institutions of knowledge. Through the case study of Theophile de Viau which became a martyr of the libertine cause during the whole century and the spoke-man of the libertine identity, I would like to understand the social links between philosophy and society at the age of cultural absolutism. What does it mean to claim being cartesian or libertine? This project has been partly prepared by a collaborative book on Affaires, published in 2007.

 

Knowledge and metropolis

 

After the Descartes’ book, I returned to urban history for my next project which is continuing. I have been working in particular on a comparative approach to metropolitan cultures in Europe from the 17th to the 20th centuries. This project is focussed in particular on France, Britain and Italy, and tries to explore the connection between the world of learning and scholars and the emergence of urban identities in Modern Europe. I try to answer the following questions: what is the role played by knowledge in the organisations, institutions and practices shaping of modern metropolis? The development of new cultural infrastructure (observatories, laboratories, libraries, botanic gardens) which characterized big science, had significant consequences for urban planning. Their localization within large metropolises helped to identify capital cities as major centres of knowledge. From the end of the eighteenth-century to the 1960s onwards, the intellectual function of the metropolis has increasingly depended on this articulation between the centrality of equipment and national institutions. At the end of the twentieth century, this pattern seemed to be in crisis, and progressively we perceive a shift from the metropolitan centres to the peripheries. And metropolis was no longer the key site for scientific research. Yet, we have also to investigate the reverse aspect of this process. To what extent for example did the definition of a modern city from the eighteenth-century impose a new agenda for knowledge in terms of disciplines and fields of study (the birth of urban statistics, customary Law, Medicine, architecture)? Is there a metropolitan order of knowledge, to paraphrase Michel Foucault?

 

My third book on Paris, capitale philosophique (2005) is a first attempt to come to terms with some of these questions. It explores the relationships between modern science and metropolitan identity at a time, the Enlightenment, in which Paris was considered as an Enlightenment capital. The book traced how Paris attained this centrality within the competitive European space of Enlightenment. By analysing both practices and representations, and considering different ways in which urban spaces was appropriated, a new figure of philosopher emerged at that time. This was represented in fictional images as well as in local identities. Paris was a laboratory for these new representations and practices. I argue that, at the turn of the eighteenth century, the profound change in the culture of mobility of intellectual elites helped to modify metropolitan culture by producing a shift from a conception of the classical city to a flowing and energized metaphor of modern capital described by Baudelaire. In this work, I tried to blend the cultural history of institutions with the history of material culture (instruments), with the history of cultural sociability, and with social history of urban elites. I analyzed for instance the role played by Parisian Corporative bodies in the use of intellectual practices to attract international recognition.

 

Tracing urban Greatness (18th-19th): current Projects

 

This is the topic of a new monograph which deals with urban antiquarians and the birth of metropolitan archaeology in London, in Paris. This project is focussed on practices of collecting and the invention of the City Museum in Europe during the nineteenth-century. I am currently writing a book on this topic, ‘Collecting the city, constructing the metropolitan past in Europe from Eighteenth-century to the XXIst century”. Urban historians tended to limit themselves to an analysis of foundation narratives or myths of origins. More recently, they have begun to concentrate on the urban histories genre, thereby privileging ideological, symbolic and textual aspects of the process. In contrast, urban archaeology has not received much attention. But as global cities, urban elites began to establish ways of measuring urban greatness through the study of their glorious past. After the French Revolution, cities, despite their focus on the future, continued to exploit their history and to reflect on the material traces of their greatness. In London and Paris, ‘historical services of the city’ emerged as institutions whose role was to preserve and interpret the metropolitan past. Crucial within this framework are the discovery of archaeological sites, the construction of bodies of artifacts, collections and libraries, and the production of graphical artifacts such as maps and drawings. These gradually lent solidity and visibility to this field of intellectual research, and reinforced a new way of imagining the city:

 

 

 

Recent publication

Recent publication