Iain Stewart is a Lecturer in Modern European History at University College London and has previously taught at the University of Manchester, Queen Mary University of London, and the Institut d’études politiques de Paris. He completed his doctorate, a study of Raymond Aron’s position in the history of liberal thought, at the University of Manchester between 2007 and 2011. His latest publication, co-edited with Stephen W. Sawyer, is In Search of the Liberal Moment: Democracy, Anti-Totalitarianism and Intellectual Politics in France since 1950 (New York: Palgrave, 2016)
Contextualist intellectual history of European liberalism and the cultural Cold War; theories of tradition and reception studies and their application to the history of European liberalism; history of twentieth-century French intellectuals.
Historicising the 'French Liberal Revival'
My project explores the history of the ‘liberal revival’ that emerged in French political and economic thought during the 1970s. Previous scholarship on this phenomenon has tended to see it as the product of an anti-totalitarian turn in French intellectual life following the publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago in 1974. On this view, the ‘French liberal revival’ amounted to the recovery of a previously dormant tradition, twentieth-century French political culture having previously been radically anti-liberal in character. My starting point in historicising the ‘French liberal revival’ is to critique these claims. The ultimate aim of the project is to uncover how and why French intellectuals from across the political spectrum engaged with ideas and traditions of thought that they identified as liberal in the final third of the twentieth century. In doing so I hope to bring to light the complex heterogeneity of the liberal turn in late twentieth-century French thought and situate this phenomenon within its larger international context.