Jeffrey S. Ravel

Professor of History
Head, History Faculty
617-253-4451

Education: 

B.A. Colgate University, 1983
M.A. University of California, Berkeley, 1987
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1991

Jeffrey S. Ravel studies the history of French and European political culture from the mid-seventeenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries. He is the author of The Would-Be Commoner: A Tale of Deception, Murder, and Justice in Seventeenth Century France (Houghton Mifflin, 2008); and The Contested Parterre: Public Theater and French Political Culture, 1680-1791 (Cornell University Press, 1999).  He is currently working on a history of French playing cards and political regimes from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.

He was a Co-Founder of CÉSAR, a web site devoted to the study of seventeenth and eighteenth-century French theater. Currently he co-directs the Comédie-Française Registers Project, a collaborative venture between the Bibiliothèque-musée of the Comédie Française theater troupe, MIT, Harvard University, the University of Victoria, the Sorbonne, and the Université de Paris-Nanterre.  His newest Digital Humanities initiative is the Visualizing Maritime History Project, a collaboration with the MIT Museum that has received funding from the US National Park Service.  

In 2017-2018 he will be the Second Vice President of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies; in 2019-2020 he will serve as the Society’s President.  Ravel is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the MIT Museum, and chairs the Museum’s Collections Committee.  He is a Co-Director of MIT’s Beaver Press, located in Barker Library.  Since April 2015, he has been the Faculty Lead for the MIT-Nepal Initiative.

Teaching interests include Old Regime and Revolutionary France, European cultural and intellectual history, the history of the book and comparative media studies, and World history.