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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; Thur 11 am - 12 pm


Academic Profile

Charles Walton is a historian of France and Director of the Early Modern and Eighteenth Century Centre. 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. He held a fellowship at the Institut d'Études Avancées (Paris) in Paris for the academic year 2015-16.

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).


Podcast: Clear and Present Danger, episode 32, 'Policing Opinion in the French Revolution' (2019).

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


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

  • 'The French Revolution: A Matter of Circumstances?', French History and Civilization vol. 9 (2020).
  • 'Why the Neglect? Social Rights and French Revolutionary Historiography', 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 France', Critical Historical Studies 5: 1 (2018), 1-43.
  • 'Piketty’s Provocative Contradiction: Economic Determinism versus Historical Contingency in Capital in the Twenty-First Century', 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