My research focuses on the interplay between philosophy, politics, and the arts in 19th century Europe. I am now writing a book about the French philosopher Charles Renouvier (1815-1903), the subject of my Ph. D. dissertation. Toward that end, I am completing a journal article (the first in a series), “Charles Renouvier’s War Against Revanche,” that assesses Renouvier’s efforts as an influential public intellectual to quell the upsurge of nationalism in France following its defeat in the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871) and to persuade his fellow French Republicans to champion a pacifist foreign policy that could lay the foundations for a European federation and permanent peace. These projects are the culmination of a long intellectual and spiritual evolution. After a college education focused on history, anthropology and the humanities-philosophy, literature, and art history-I spent my 20s as an avid explorer of European cities, a disciple of the great urbanist and public intellectual Lewis Mumford. To finance my studies and adventures I worked as a free-lance writer, an experience that led to a decades-long career as a financial journalist and editor, interrupted only by a two-year stint as Managing Editor of the 19th and final volume of the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. I eventually published hundreds of articles in business and financial journals, as well as diverse pieces (including interviews with jazz greats Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck, and Billy Taylor) in general interest publications. This experience as a writer and editor has turned out to be an unexpected asset in my work as an educator over the past 15 years. Since 2002 I have taught a wide range of courses intended to awaken students of varying sensibilities to the diversity and richness of the past. Without neglecting politics or economics, I have given special attention in my classes to philosophy, the arts, religion, and the layout, architecture, and cultural life of great cities. In addition to teaching many general courses on World and European History-ancient, medieval, and modern-I developed and taught: Memoir as History (Rousseau, Mill, Kropotkin, Ginsberg); A Tale of Four Cities (Amsterdam, London, Paris, Berlin); From Romanticism to Modernism: European Thought and Culture 1789-1914; A Tale of Three Cities (London, Paris, Berlin); 20th Century Europe; and The Culture of Fin-de-Siecle Europe 1885-1914 (London, Vienna, Paris). I am now teaching a course at Pratt entitled Salvation from Despair: Spiritual Awakenings in the Ancient World. In my cultural interests, I am a passionate admirer of such 16th century figures as Cervantes, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Guillaume Postel, and Marguerite de Navarre. However, I remain at heart a 19th century man, enchanted by the creativity of the thought, literature and art of pre-World War I Europe, while also looking back to the ancient world for spiritual insights that neither the 19th century nor the modern world can provide.
Ph.D. History, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Major field: Modern European Intellectual and Cultural History. Minor field: Medieval History
Dissertation: Rethinking French Democracy: Charles Renouvier and the Politics of Legality, 1869-1880. An exploration of how the neo-Kantian philosopher Renouvier synthesized the French liberal, republican, and socialist traditions to inspire and guide French Republicans in their struggle to establish a liberal democracy in France.