Drew Starling

Drew Starling is a Ph.D. candidate whose work focuses on the history of early-modern France. He received his B.A. in intellectual history from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.Phil. in political thought and intellectual history from the University of Cambridge.

His research examines the ways in which new audiences, new forms of media, and new efforts to control both transformed the nature of public debates and magnified their impact at the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. Specifically, his dissertation, entitled, “From Meditation to Information: Reading after Unigenitus,” examines how the 1713 condemnation of a seventeenth-century, French-language Bible commentary led to the emergence of a potentially revolutionary public and public opinion already in the first half of the eighteenth century in France and transformed popular French reading practices in ways that would have far-reaching, though unintended, political consequences.

Alongside this work, he has researched and written on the publication and reception histories of Voltaire’s earliest works, including the Henriade and the Lettres philosophiques, and on the publication history of the Federalist Papers in France, paying particular attention to the cultural context that led to the unmasking of the authors of the Federalist Papers in the first French-language edition of the text and the theoretical and practical implications of this history for modern interpretations of the American Constitution from history.

His research has been supported by both internal and external grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright Scholar Fellowship and a CLIR-Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources. These fellowships have enabled him to conduct research in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the United States, and to participate in a number of academic conferences. He is currently a graduate fellow at the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of Pennsylvania.

His research is supervised by Sophia Rosenfeld, Roger Chartier, Alan Charles Kors, and Joan DeJean.


M.Phil., University of Cambridge (2014)
B.A., summa cum laude, University of Pennsylvania (2013)

Research Interests

History of Media, History of the Book, History of Censorship and Free Speech, Eighteenth-Century Intellectual History, History of the Enlightenment, History of the French Revolution, History of the Popular and Public Opinion

Courses Taught

The History of God (Fall 2017) 

European Diplomatic History (Spring 2017) 

Hollywood and American History (Fall 2016) 

Making of a Modern World: Thirteen Innovations that Changed Human History (Spring 2016) 

The Cold War: A Global History (Fall 2015)

CV (file)