Robert A. Schneider

Professor, Department of History

Director, History Honors Program

Department of History

IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

In both my teaching and scholarship, my main focus has been on Early Modern Europe, with a research interest in France. And within this field I have largely hewed to one central theme: the formation of the centralized state, which arguably was most and earliest apparent in France, along with the cultural and social aspects of this particular political development. This reflects an interest, not only in Europe from the Renaissance to the Revolution, but also in the political and cultural history of other regions and other times insofar as the emergence of the nation-state is clearly one of the main themes of global history in the last half millennium. My research has been a continuous exploration of the various ramifications of political centralization, which I analyzed in the most sustained fashion in my first book, Public Life in Toulouse, 1463-1789; and which I subsequently examined in relationship to forms of public display in The Ceremonial City. My most recent book, Dignified Retreat: Writers and Intellectuals in the Age of Richelieu, looks at the  intersection of the world of letters and the political culture of this crucial period of state-formation in French history. My next book is a radical departure from my previous work: A study of the concept of "resentment" as deployed as an analytical tool for understanding various, mostly right-wing movements in the twentieth century.  Tentatively entitled "The Return of Resentment: The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of the Political Emotion," the manuscript has been submitted for publication by the University of Chicago Press.

My teaching largely reflects my interests, as well as a desire to convey to students some of the most exciting aspects of Early Modern European History—a field that has attracted some of the best and most imaginative historians of our time. I routinely offer courses on “Europe from the Renaissance to Napoleon," “Religion, Magic and Witchcraft,” “Culture and Society in Early Modern Europe,” "Introduction to Historical Methodology,” and "Intellectual Cultures of the Renaissance."  

From 2005 to 2015 I was Editor of the American Historical Review.

Honors and Awards

  • Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
  • National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship
  • Visiting Fellowship, Oxford University (All Souls College, 1996; Oriel College, 2015-16)
  • Visiting Lecturer, Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris (1993, 2004, 2016)

Research Interests

  • Formation of centralized European state
  • Europe, Renaissance to the Revolution
  • Early Modern Cultural History
  • Intellectual history of "absolutism"


  • B.A. at Yale University
  • M.A. at Wesleyan University
  • Ph.D. at The University of Michigan

Courses Taught

  • Religion, Magic and Witchcraft, 1200-2000
  • Europe from the Renaissance to Napoleon
  • Civilization and Its Discontents
  • Introduction to the Professional Study of History\
  • Intellectual Cultures of the Renaissance



Selected Articles

  • Self-Censorship and Men of Letters: Tocqueville’s Critique of the Enlightenment in Historical Perspective,” in Tocqueville and Beyond: Essays in the Old Regime in Honor of David D. Bien. Newark: The University of Delaware Press, 2001.
  • Literature and Power and the Emergence of Literature: Christian Jouhaud’s Age of Richelieu.French Historical Studies 25, no. 2 (2002): 357-80.
  • "Friends of Friends: Intellectual and Literary Sociability in the Age of Richelieu," in Lewis C. Seifert and Rebecca M. Wilkin, eds. Men and Women Making Friends in Early Modern France. London & New York: Routledge, 2015.
  • "Gallicans Not Magistrates: The Dupuy Cabinet in the Age of Richelieu," in Barbara Diefendorf, ed. Social Relations, Politics and Power in Early Modern France: Robert Descimon and the Historian's Craft. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2016.