Potofsky Allan

Posted on August 29, 2019


Research themes

  • History of the Atlantic World, 17th-18th centuries
  • France in America
  • The French and American Revolutions
  • Urban history, 17th-18th centuries

Current Project

  • From September 2019, research sabbatical with the CNRS, Section in Early Modern and Modern History.
  • Book project : “Paris is the World.” Paris as Rome, Paris as Babylon, the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. (Projet délégation CNRS, 2019-)

  • Articles : Economic and political relations between the American and French Revolutions, Franco-North American commerce, and the French consular corps in North America, 18th century.
  • The social, urban, and architectural history of Paris.

Research Supervision

  • France in America, 1600-1850
  • The Age of Revolution, 1776-1815
  • Urban, socio-economic, intellectual history
  • The intellectual history of political economy
  • Pre-industrial history of labor and capital in Western Europe


  • 1993: Ph.D., History. Columbia University, (NY): The Builders of Paris from the Old Regime to the Revolution.
  • 2007: Habilitation à diriger des recherches (HdR), Université Paris-Diderot, Ideas and Policies in the French Atlantic Eighteenth Century

Academic Positions

  • 1989-1993: Lecturer, Columbia University (NY).
  • 1993-2009, Assistant and Associate Professor, Université Paris-8
  • 2009-present, Professor, Université Paris-Diderot

Selected International Nominations

  • 2008 : Visiting Scholar, International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello, Charlottesville Virginia.
  • 2014: Visiting Scholar, University of Toronto, Département d’Histoire.
  • 2016 : Neubauer Fellow, University of Chicago, Département d’Histoire.
  • 2018. Visiting Professor, University of Melbourne, Faculté d’Histoire et Philosophie (Australie).

Administrative Responsibilities

    • « Quand le bâtiment va, tout va? Réflexions sur les usages historiques du chantier de construction », in Corinne Maitte, Didier Terrier, eds, Les temps du travail. Normes, pratiques, évolutions (xive-xixe siècles) Presses universitaires de Rennes, Rennes, 2015.
    • “Recycling the City: Paris, 1760s-1800” in The Afterlife of Used Things: Recycling in the 18th century. Ariane Fénetaux, Amélie Junqua, Sophie Vasset, editors, London : Routledge 2014.
    • “The Political Economy of the FrenchAmerican Debt Debate: The Ideological Uses of Atlantic Commerce, 1787 to 1800.” The William and Mary Quarterly 63, no. 3 (2006).
    • Editor: “The French Caribbean Before 1800,” French History (Oxford University Press), 2011.
    • Editor, “New Perspectives on the Atlantic,” History of European Ideas (Elsevier), 2008.