Colin Jones is Professor of History at Queen Mary University of London and visiting Professor at the University of Chicago. He has held visiting positions at Paris, Princeton, Stanford, University of Richmond (Virginia) and the National Humanities Centre (North Carolina). A Commander of the Order of the British Empire, he is a Fellow of the British Academy and past president of the Royal Historical Society. He has written very widely on the history of France, notably on the 18th century, the French Revolution, the history of medicine and history of Paris. Current projects include a study of the 24 hours which marked the fall of Robespierre in 1794 and an edition of letters of an unknown dowager-duchess who lived at the heart of Paris from 1788 to 1794.
French history (18th century), French Revolution, History of medicine, History of Paris.
The Social and Political Worlds of Maximilien Robespierre
Maximilien Robespierre is one of the most endlessly fascinating, and most studied figures in French revolutionary history. This project seeks to reconstruct his social and political world in the period of the Terror, examining not only his relations with national politicians but also the wide range of individuals whom he encountered and with whom he developed relations in his everyday life, both political and personal. Using primary sources little tapped by scholars, the project seeks not only to offer a fresh and revealing perspective on the most notorious politician of the Revolutionary decade but also to reexamine some of the ways that politics worked under the Terror. The Revolution is often seen as the seedplot of modern politics by dint of the ways in which power was constructed around ideological positions. Yet older, more patronage – and friendship – based relational networks persisted, taking new forms after 1789. They were inflected not only by political ideas but also to some extent by the emergent cult of celebrity. Through the lens of Robespierre’s career under the Terror, the study will aim to illuminate the articulation of ideas, patronage, celebrity and influence at this formative moment in modern political history.