Keith Michael Baker is J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor in the Humanities and Professor of History at Stanford University. His work has focused on the political culture of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. He is the author of Condorcet. From Natural Philosophy to Social Mathematics (French translation, Condorcet. Raison et politique, 1988) and Inventing the French Revolution (partial French translation, Au tribunal de l’opinion, 1993). He is the editor (with Dan Edelstein) of Scripting Revolution (2015). His current project is a study of Jean-Paul Marat.
Marat offers a compelling intellectual challenge: how to make sense of his ideas, his actions, his immense influence, and his still iconic status as one of the most radical and bloodthirsty leaders of the French Revolution. My aim is to contextualize the languages he used to express his sense of self, diagnose his world, and frame his goals, and to analyze their implications and force in relationship to the available discourses of his time. I aim to write a “Marat” consonant with a discursive approach to the study of political culture and attuned to contemporary interest in the genealogy of terror.