Grant E. Stanton

Grant E. Stanton

Ph.D. Candidate

Colonial & Early America; Atlantic World; Intellectual History

Grant E. Stanton is a doctoral candidate whose research interests range widely across the landscape of early modern American (pre-1865) and Atlantic intellectual history. Before coming to Penn, Grant taught courses in American and World history at Bakersfield College, and received his M.A. and B.A. from the University of Chicago and the University of California - Santa Barbara, respectively.

Grant's dissertation studies the rich insult culture of eighteenth-century America and the Atlantic World. As he argues, contemporary's insult practices remain crucial disclosures of the common metaphysical conjectures that united actors across the Atlantic in their encounters with moral being. Moreover, insults provide an exceptional, and deliciously irreverent, lens for understanding the many crises brought to light in the American Revolution -- particularly those surrounding the emergent notion that all human beings, qua human beings, have innate moral dignity.

Outside of his dissertation, Grant is also studying the crystallization of a unique philosophy of history in mid-nineteenth-century America; one which underscored an imaginative, and at times even playful, engagement with time by Americans across political, religious, and racial boundaries. Previous to these projects, Grant has also researched the role of the African American "freedom petitions" in the American Revolution. In that effort he argued that prior scholars have underappreciated how Massachusetts' black colonials were constitutive of -- rather than exterior to -- the Revolutionary moment and its language of liberty. 

Much of his prior work may be found here:


Committee: Daniel K. Richter, Sophia Rosenfeld, Sarah L.H. Gronningsater, Warren Breckman


M.A., Social Sciences, University of Chicago, 2017
B.A., History and Political Science, University of California - Santa Barbara, 2016

Research Interests

17th-19th-century American history; 17th-19th-century Atlantic history; Trans-Atlantic Enlightenment and Revolution; American Renaissance; Intellectual history -- moral, metaphysical, political, and legal; Philosophical anthropology; Philosophy of history