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Sean Quinlan

Dean, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences


112 Administration Building



Mailing Address

College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3154
Moscow, ID 83844-3154

Sean Quinlan is the dean for the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. He is a full professor of history. His research areas are eighteenth-century studies, science and medicine in Europe, gender and sexuality in the west, European cultural and intellectual history, modern France and Italy.

  • Ph.D., History, Indiana University, 2000
  • M.A., History, Indiana University, 1994
  • B.A., History, Arizona State University, 1992

Sean M. Quinlan is a full professor and chair of the History Department. He received his doctorate from Indiana University in 2000 and was subsequently awarded a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA. He has received Fulbright research fellowships at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (1996-97) and the Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale, Italy (2016-17).

In his research and teaching, Quinlan focuses broadly on modern European cultural and intellectual history, with particular emphasis on science and medicine in France and Italy during the Enlightenment. Using interdisciplinary models, he studies the cultural dimensions of scientific practice, especially issues that touch upon ideology, social practice, aesthetics and sexuality. Quinlan has published widely and given numerous conference papers and invited lectures throughout the United States and Europe. He has won a number of prestigious fellowships and scholarship awards. He has completed his second book, entitled "Promiscuous Science: Medical Writing and Subcultures in Post-Revolutionary France," and is at work on a new project on science and social reform in southern Italy during the long 18th century.

  • 18th century studies
  • Science and medicine in Europe
  • Gender and sexuality in the West
  • European cultural and intellectual history
  • Modern France and Italy, ca. 1750-present


  • The Great Nation in Decline: Sex, Modernity, and Health Crises in Revolutionary France, ca. 1750–1850 (History of Medicine in Context Series) (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).


  • “Demonizing the Sixties: Possession Tales and the Crisis in Medical and Religious Authority in American Popular Culture,” Journal of American Culture 37 (2014): 314–30.
  • “Writing about the Natural History of Women: Doctors, Medical Genre, and Readership in Post-Revolutionary France,” in Women, Gender and Disease in Eighteenth-Century England and France, Ann Kathleen Doig and Felicia Sturzer, eds. (Cambridge: Scholars Press, 2014).
  • “Shots to the Mind: Violence, the Brain, and Biomedicine in Popular Novels and Film in Post-1960’s America,” European Journal of American Culture 31 (2013): 215–34.
  • Shocked Sensibility: The Nerves, the Will, and Altered States in Sade’s L’Histoire de Juliette,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 25 (spring 2013).
  • “Heredity, Reproduction, Perfectibility: Early Ideas about Eugenics during the French Revolution,” Endeavour 34, no. 4 (2010).
  • “Monstrous Births and Medical Networks: Debates over Forensic Evidence, Generation Theory, and Obstetrical Authority, ca. 1780–1815,” Early Science and Medicine, 14 (2009).
  • “Sex and the Citizen: Reproductive Manuals and Fashionable Elites under the Napoleonic Consulate, 1799–1804,” in Creating Identities in Modern France, Kevin J. Callahan and Sarah A. Curtis, eds. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008).
  • “Men Without Women: Masculinity, Male Sociability, and Revolutionary Politics in France, 1789–1815,” in French Masculinities: History, Culture, and Politics, Christopher Forth and Bertrand Taithe, eds., with an afterword by Robert A. Nye (London: Palgrave, 2007).
  • “Inheriting Vice, Acquiring Virtue: Hereditary Disease and Moral Hygiene in Eighteenth-Century France,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 80 (Winter 2006).
  • “Medicine in the Boudoir: The Marquis de Sade and Moral Hygiene in Post-Thermidorean France,” Textual Practice 20, no. 2 (2006).
  • “Physical and Moral Regeneration after the Terror: Medical Culture, Sensibility, and Family Politics in France, 1794–1804,” Social History, vol. 29, no. 2 (2004) (awarded the Percy Adams Prize, 2005).
  • “Colonial Bodies, Hygiene and Abolitionist Politics in Eighteenth-Century France,” History Workshop Journal, no. 42 (Fall 1996) Reprinted in Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton (eds.), Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History(Durham: Duke University Press, 2005).
  • “Apparent Death in Eighteenth-Century France and England,”French History, vol. 9, no. 2 (1995) (awarded the John Snell Memorial Prize, 1995).

  • Fulbright Faculty Research Fellowship, Italy (Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”) (2016–17)
  • Award for Outstanding Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration (co-recipient), Office of the Provost, University of Idaho (April 2016) [$1,500.00]
  • Research Fellowship, Idaho Humanities Council, a State-Based Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities (for summer 2016)
  • Visiting Professorship, Leuphana Universität (Lüneburg, Germany), USAC exchange program (spring 2016)
  • Invited Fellow (residency), Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin (June–July 2015)
  • University of Idaho Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence (December 2013)
  • Visiting Professorship, Leuphana Universität (Lüneburg, Germany), USAC exchange program (2011–12)
  • University of Idaho, Distinguished Humanities Fellow (2009–2011)
  • University of Idaho Research School, Faculty Seed Grant, Paris (June-August, 2008)
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, University of Idaho, Disability Support Services (April 2008)
  • University of Idaho Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence (December 2007)
  • Martin Scholar (2007–08), Global Health Studies, Martin Institute for Peace Studies
  • Research Fellowship, Idaho Humanities Council, a State-Based Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities (2007
  • Bureau of Public Affairs, University of Idaho, Summer Travel Grant (2007)
  • University of Idaho Research School, Faculty Travel Grant (July 2006)
  • Percy Adams Award, Southeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (March 2005)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Distinguished Service Award for Faculty, University of Idaho and Washington State University (2005)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Fellowship, (2004)


Physical Address:
315 Administration Building

Mailing Address:
History Department
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3175
Moscow, ID 83844-3175

Phone: 208-885-6253

Fax: 208-885-5221


Web: History Department