Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Dr Charles Walton

Charles Walton

Office Hours:


FAB 3.48 (Faculty of Arts Building)
+44 (0)24 76524421 (internal extension 24421)
Wed: 11 am - 12 pm

Fri: 10 - 11 am


Academic Profile

Charles Walton is a historian of France and Director of the Early Modern and Eighteenth Century CentreLink opens in a new window. Before joining the History Department at Warwick, he taught at Yale University, the University of Oklahoma (Norman) and Sciences Po (Paris). His research focuses on Ancien Régime, Enlightenment and Revolutionary France, with emphases on rights, political economy and socio-economic justice.

His prize-winning book, Policing Public Opinion in the French Revolution: the Culture of Calumny and the Problem of Free Speech (2009, paperback 2011, French translation 2014), explores the themes of honour, speech, public opinion and political violence. It shows how debates over limits to free expression contributed to political radicalisation before and during the Revolution. He has edited a collection of essays in honour of Robert Darnton on print culture and the Enlightenment, Into Print: Limits and Legacies of the Enlightenment (2011).

More recently, his research has centred on the history of social rights. He is co-editor (with Steven L. B. Jensen) of Social Rights and the Politics of Obligation in History (Cambridge, 2022) and editor of a special issue of French History on social rights (2019).


Podcast: Clear and Present DangerLink opens in a new window, episode 32, 'Policing Opinion in the French Revolution' (2019).

New: Social Rights and the Politics of Obligation in HistoryLink opens in a new window (Cambridge, 2022), co-edited with Steven L. B. Jensen (2022)

Open Global Rights: Moving towards a new history of social rightsLink opens in a new window


Postgraduate students

I welcome applicants interested in pursuing MA and/or PhD research projects in eighteenth-century European History involving France. Please feel free to contact me to discuss your interests.


Current doctoral students

Claire Rioult: 'War by other means? British and French commercial diplomacies and the Spanish market (1783-1808)’

Ronan Love: 'Revolutionary Debts: The Politics of Financial Obligation in the French Revolution'



Books & edited volumes

Articles & Essays

  • 'Socioeconomic Rights', with Glauco Schettini, in Dan Edelstein and Jennifer Pitts (eds.), Cambridge History of Rights, Volume 4: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Cambridge, forthcoming)
  • 'Who Pays? Social Rights and the French Revolution', in Jensen and Walton (eds), Social Rights and the Politics of Obligation in History (Cambridge, 2022).
  • 'Not "Second Generation Rights": Rethinking the History of Social Rights' in Jensen and Walton (eds), Social Rights and the Politics of Obligation in History (Cambridge, 2022).
  • 'The French Revolution: A Matter of Circumstances?Link opens in a new window', French History and Civilization vol. 9 (2020).
  • 'Why the Neglect? Social Rights and French Revolutionary HistoriographyLink opens in a new window', in Charles Walton (ed.), French History (special issue on 'Socioeconomic Rights and Duties', December 2019)
  • 'Capitalism's Alter Ego: The Birth of Reciprocity in Eighteenth-century FranceLink opens in a new window', Critical Historical Studies 5: 1 (2018), 1-43.
  • 'Piketty’s Provocative Contradiction: Economic Determinism versus Historical Contingency in Capital in the Twenty-First CenturyLink opens in a new window', Allegoria, No. 71-72, 2016.
  • 'Clubs, Parties, Factions' in David Andress (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the French Revolution (Oxford: OUP, 2015)
  • 'French Revolutionary Studies: Challenges and Potential Ways Forward' (keynote address) and 'Reciprocity and the French Revolution' (abstract) in Alex Fairfax-Cholmeley and Colin Jones (eds.), e-France: New Perspectives on the French Revolution. vol. 4 (2013).
  • ‘Between Trust and Terror: Patriotic Giving in the French Revolution’ in David Andress (ed.), Experiencing the French Revolution (Oxford: SVEC, 2013)
  • ‘The Fall from Eden: The Free Trade Origins of the French Revolution’ in Suzanne Desan, Lynn Hunt, and William Nelson (eds.), The French Revolution in Global Perspective (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013)
  • ‘Public Opinion and Free-market Morality in Old Regime and Revolutionary France’ in Massimo Rospocher, ed. Beyond the Public Sphere: Opinions, Publics, Spaces in Early Modern Europe (XVI-XVIII) (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2012)
  • ‘Les graines de la discorde: Print, Public Spirit, and Free Market Politics in the French Revolution’ in Charles Walton (ed.), Into Print: Limits and Legacies of the Enlightenment (2011)
  • ‘La opinión pública y la política patológica de la Revolución Francesa’ in Ayer, 80: 4 (2010)
  • ‘La liberté de la presse dans les cahiers de doléances de 1789’ in Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine (jan-mars, 2006)
  • ‘Charles IX and the French Revolution: Law, Vengeance, and the Revolutionary Uses of History’ in European Review of History/Revue européenne d’histoire, 4: 2 (1997)

 Public Writings & Media