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  Jonathan F Beecher

Jonathan F Beecher

Professor Emeritus


Humanities Division

History Department

Professor Emeritus




Stevenson College

Ph.D., Harvard University 1968
Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) 1962-1964

French history, European intellectual history, Russian intellectual history, utopian socialism

I continue to be much interested in the history of utopian thinking in Europe since Thomas More, in the history of French Christian socialism, and more generally in French intellectual history in the years running from the French Revolution to 1848. My intellectual biographies of Fourier and Considerant grew out of an attempt to understand the origins of what I call “romantic” socialism, and my study of European writers and 1848 will be centrally concerned with the collapse of the dream of romantic socialists and other radicals that a “democratic and social republic” might usher in a new age of class harmony and social justice.

In recent years my research interests have broadened to include both Russia and the United States. I have long been fascinated by the writings of the nineteenth-century Russian radical émigré Alexander Herzen, and I plan to include a chapter on Herzen in my book on 1848. In recent years I have also made four research trips to Moscow to work in the former Central Party Archives. One fruit of that research is an article on the Marx-Engels Institute and its founder, David Riazanov, which appeared in The Journal of Modern History in 2006. I've now completed a related article on the great French historian of Russian culture and Russian religion, Pierre Pascal, who worked at the Marx-Engels Institute in the 1920s. It is titled “The Making and Unmaking of a Christian Bolshevik: The Soviet Years of Pierre Pascal” and appeared in The Journal of Modern History in 2015.

I often assign novels in my courses in French history and European and Russian intellectual history. In Russian Intellectual History we read Dostoevsky’s Demons and Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons; I generally assign novels by Stendhal and Balzac in my course on nineteenth-century France; and my survey course on nineteenth-century Europe (History 30B) is built around three novels: Dickens’ Hard Times, Lampedusa’s The Leopard, and Joseph Roth’s Radetsky March. One American writer whose fiction has long fascinated me is Herman Melville, and in recent years I’ve begun to publish and to lecture on Melville. My most recent dive into the crowded waters of Melville scholarship was a talk given at a Herman Melville-Frederick Douglass Conference at the New Bedford (Mass.) Whaling Museum, which was published in June 2007 in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies under the title “Echoes of Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution in Herman Melville’s ‘Benito Cereno’.”

Dickson Emeriti Professorship, 2012-2013
France-Berkeley Foundation Grant, 2005-2006
UCSC Faculty Research Lecturer, 2003
Palmes académiques, 1998
Guggenheim Fellowship, 1988-1989
UC President's Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 1988-1989
UCSC Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award, 1988
American Philosophical Society Research Grant, 1986
ACLS Fellowship, 1976-1977
Harvard-Ecole Normale Supérieure Exchange Fellowship, 1962-1964
Fulbright Fellowship (France)., 1959-1960

  • Writers and Revolution: European Intellectuals and the French Revolution of 1848. Includes essays on Lamartine, Hugo, George Sand, Marie d'Agoult, Tocqueville, Proudhon, Alexander Herzen, Marx, and Flaubert. To be published by Cambridge University Press.
  • Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romantic Socialism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. French translation by Michel Cordillot, "Victor Considerant: Grandeur et décadence du socialisme romantique français."Dijon: Les Presses du réel, 2011.
  • Charles Fourier: The Visionary and His World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. French translation by Pierre-Yves Pétillon and Hélène Perrin, Paris: Editions Fayard, 1993. Japanese translation by Tomomi Fukushima, Tokyo: Sakuhinsha, 2001. Italian translation by Roberto Cruciani, Bolsena: Massari editore, 2008.
  • The Utopian Vision of Charles Fourier: Selected Texts on Work, Love and Passionate Attraction, tr. and ed. with Richard Bienvenu. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971. London: Jonathan Cape, 1972. Second edition, Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1983.
  • Articles:
  • "Lamartine, the Girondins, and 1848" in Douglas Moggach and Gareth Stedman Jones (eds.), "The 1848 Revolutions and European Political Thought" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 14-38.
  • "Alexandre Herzen et la Révolution de 1848" in Edward Castleton and Hervé Touboul (eds.), "Regards sur 1848" (Besançon: Presses Universitaires de Franche-Comté, 2015), 217-259.
  • "The Making and Unmaking of a Christian Bolshevik: The Soviet Years of Pierre Pascal," "The Journal of Modern History," 87:1 (March 2015), 1-35.
  • "Courbet, Considerant et la Commune," in Noël Barbe and Hervé Touboul (eds.), "Courbet, peinture et politique (Besançon: Sékoya, 2013), 51-63.
  • "Early European Socialism" in George Klosko, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, 369-392.
  • "Le Fouriérisme des canuts," in Ludovic Frobert (ed.), L'Echo de la Fabrique. Naissance de la presse ouvrière à Lyon, 1831-1834. Lyon: Presses de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure. LSH, 2010, 111-139.
  • "Echoes of Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution in Melville's 'Benito Cereno,'" Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, IX, 2 (June 2007), 43-58
  • "Two Concepts of Utopia," Australian Journal of French Studies, 43 (2006), 224-240.
  • "French Socialism in Lenin's and Stalin's Moscow: David Riazanov and the French Archive of the Marx-Engels Institute," Journal of Modern History, 78 (2006), 119-143. (With Valerii Fomichev). Russian translation in I.B. Tsvetkova and Yu. Novichenko (eds.), Izvestnyi i Neizvestnyi D. B. Riazanov (1870-1938), Materialy nauchnoi konferentsii (Moscow 2011).
  • "Building Utopia in the Promised Land: Icarians and Fourierists in Texas," in François Lagarde (ed.), The French in Texas: History, Migration, Culture (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003), 197-225
  • "Désirée Véret or The Past Recaptured: Love, Memory, and Socialism." The Human Tradition in Modern France, K. Vincent and A. Klairmont-Lingo, eds., 69-80. Wilmington, Del.: SR Books, 2000. French translation by Thomas Bouchet in Cahiers Charles Fourier, 14 (December 2003), 21-33.
  • "Parody and Liberation in the New Amorous World of Charles Fourier." History Workshop 20 (Autumn 1985), 125-33.

HIS 70B, Modern European History, 1789-1914
HIS 170A, French History: Old Regime and Revolution
HIS 170B, French History: The 19th Century
HIS 178A, European Intellectual History: The Enlightenment
HIS 178B, European Intellectual History: The 19th Century
HIS 178D, Russian Intellectual History
HIS 196K, Studies in European Intellectual History
HIS 204B, Approaches to Social and Cultural History

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