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Howard G. Brown

D.Phil., Oxford University, 1990
Early Modern Europe, France, politicized violence

Office: LT 606
Phone: (607) 777-4562

My previous book, Ending the French Revolution: Violence, Justice, and Repression from the Terror to Napoleon, combines extensive archival research and a wide array of historical methods to examine the years between the Terror and the Empire. It argues that despite the ringing slogans of 1789, liberal democracy was not the most significant outcome of the French Revolution. Rather, after years of politicized violence and perverted justice, of regional revolt, endemic banditry, citizen juries, and militarized policing, France's illiberal democracy quickly gave way to a modern "security state."

I am currently writing a book tentatively entitled Violence and the Self: Personal Suffering and Collective Trauma from the French Wars of Religion to the Paris Commune. This study examines how instances of mass violence were experienced by individuals, how they were communicated, and the impact those communications had on non-participants. Studying this process over three centuries allows me to explore the relationship between the growing proliferation of printed images of violence and the psychological emergence of the modern self.

I am also writing a thematic survey entitled Violence in the French Revolution, which is under contract with Oxford University Press, UK.

My graduate courses are designed primarily to acquaint students with recent historical debates and methodologies. My undergraduate courses stress the importance of history as a highly interpretative discipline whose value depends on rigorous treatment of evidence.

Chair of the History Department 2006-2009, 2013-2016

Chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, 2012-2014

Received SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2004

Received SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, 2015

Recent or current graduate courses:

  • Early Modern Europe Colloquium
  • European Violence in the Pre-Modern Era
  • Views of the French Revolution
  • Culture and Society in 18th-Century France

Recent or current undergraduate courses:

  • Cultures in Conflict, 1500-1850
  • Revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe
  • Privilege & Protest in Early Modern Europe
  • France: Renaissance to Revolution

Significant Publications:


  • Ending the French Revolution: Violence, Justice, and Repression from the Terror to Napoleon (University of Virginia Press, 2006), 461 pp.
    • received the American Historical Association's 2006 Leo Gershoy Award for the best book in seventeenth and eighteenth-century European History.
    • received the 2004 Walker Cowen Memorial Prize for an outstanding work in eighteenth-century studies.
  • Taking Liberties: Problems of a New Order from the French Revolution to Napoleon, co-edited with Judith A. Miller (Manchester University Press, 2002; Palgrave, 2003), 210 pp.
  • War, Revolution, and the Bureaucratic State: Politics and Army Administration in France, 1791-1799 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 361 pp.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters:.

  • "The Politics of Public Order" in The Oxford Handbook of the French Revolution, David Andress, ed., (Oxford University Press, 2015), 538-55.
  • "The New Security State" in A Companion to the French Revolution, Peter McPhee, ed., (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 343-58.
  • "The Origins of the Napoleonic System of Repression" in The Napoleonic Empire and the New European Political Culture, Michael Broers, Peter Hicks and Agustin Guimerá, eds., (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011), also published in Spanish as El imperio napoleonico y la nueva cultura politica europea (Madrid: CEPC, 2011).
  • "Robespierre's Tail: The Possibilities of Justice after Thermidor," Canadian Journal of History 45 (2010): 303-35.
  • "The Napoleonic Security State: Special Tribunals," in Alan Forrest and Philip Dwyer, eds., Napoleon and the Empire (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007), 79-95.
  • "A Disquieting Sense of Déjà Vu," The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 4, 2006, pp. B10-B11, (2200 words).
  • "Tips, Traps, Tropes: Catching Thieves in Post-Revolutionary Paris," Clive Emsley and Haia Shpayer Makov, eds., Police Detectives in History, 1750-1950 (Ashgate, 2006), 33-60.
  • "Revolt and Repression in the Midi Toulousain (1799)," French History 19 (2005): 232-61.
  • "Echoes of the Terror," Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 29 (2003): 529-58.
  • "The Search for Stability" in Howard G. Brown and Judith A. Miller, eds., Taking Liberties: Problems of a New Order from the French Revolution to Napoleon (Manchester University Press, 2002), 20-50.
  • "The French Revolution and Transitional Justice" in Edward R. McMahon and Thomas A. P. Sinclair, eds., Democratic Institutions Performance: Research and Policy Perspectives (Praeger Publishing, 2002), 77-95.
  • "Mythes et massacres: reconsidérer la 'Terreur directoriale,'" Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française, no. 325 (2001): 23-52.
  • "Domestic State Violence: Repression from the Croquants to the Commune," The Historical Journal 42 (1999): 597-622.
  • "An Unmasked Man in a Milieu de Mémoire: the abbé Solier as Brigand-Priest," Historical Reflections/Réflexions historiques 26 (2000): 1-30.
  • "From Organic Society to Security State: The War on Brigandage in France 1797-1802," Journal of Modern History 69 (1997): 661-95.
  • "Pouvoir, bureaucratie et élite d'état: la politique révolutionnaire du contrôle et de l'administration de l'armée, 1791-1799," Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française, no. 303 (1996): 119-38.
  • "Politics, Professionalism, and the Fate of Army Generals after Thermidor," French Historical Studies 19 (1995): 133-52

Conference Organization:

  • Principal Organizer of the multi-disciplinary conference "Culture and Conflict: Do They Need Each?" held at Binghamton University, April 11-12, 2008.
  • Program committee for the international conference "Violence and the French Revolution" held at the University of Maryland, October 26-27, 2001.
  • Co-organizer with Judith A. Miller of the international conference "The Impossible Settlement: Problems of a New Order in Post-Revolutionary France" held at Emory University, November 12-13, 1999

Grants and Fellowships:

  • Harpur College Dean's Research Grant, 2011, 2012
  • Provost's Symposium Grant, Binghamton University, 2007
  • Florence Gould Foundation Conference Support Grant, 1999
  • Emory University International Studies Grant, 1999
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1997-98
  • Visiting Fellow, Cornell University, 1997-98
  • American Philosophical Society Travel Grant, Summer 1997
  • Binghamton University Research Grant, Summer 1996
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 1995
Ending the French Revolution Talking Liberties War, Revolution, and the Bureaucratic State

Last Updated: 12/13/17