Charly J. Coleman

Charly J. Coleman

Research Interest


Ph.D. – Stanford University, 2005
B.A. – Trinity University, Texas 1998

Interests and Research

Charly Coleman, assistant professor, specializes in the history of eighteenth-century France, with a particular emphasis on the intersections between religion and Enlightenment thought. Before coming to Columbia, he taught at the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis. His first book, The Virtues of Abandon, traces a far-ranging current of anti-individualism that infiltrated theology, philosophy, and politics from the final years of the reign of Louis XIV to the Revolution of 1789. He is currently at work on a project that explores the emergence and impact of competing economic theologies in eighteenth-century France.


  • Rethinking Secularization in Early Modern Europe
  • Early Modern France
  • Contemporary Civilization I and II
  • Politics of Terror: The French Revolution
  • Composing the Self in Early Modern Europe
  • The European Enlightenment


“The Vagaries of Disenchantment: God, Matter, and Mammon in the Eighteenth Century,” Modern Intellectual History (May 2016): 1-13.

The Virtues of Abandon: An Anti-Individualist History of the French Enlightenment
(Stanford University Press, 2014).
-Awarded the Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies, 2016.
-Reviewed in: The American Historical Review (Jay Caplan); The Journal of Modern History (David Bell); H-France (Darrin McMahon); New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century (Jeffrey Merrick); Choice (D. A.Harvey); History (Angela Haas); European Review of History/Revue européenne d'histoire (William Doyle); The Immanent Frame (Hannah Callaway)

"Religion," in The Cambridge Companion to the French Enlightenment, ed. Daniel Brewer (The Cambridge Companion to the French Enlightenment, ed. Daniel Brewer. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014, 105-121).

“Resacralizing the Self: Mysticism, Materialism, and Personhood in Eighteenth-Century
France,” in Sacred and Secular Agency in Early Modern France: Fragments of Religion, ed. Sanja Perovic (London: Continuum, 2012), 83-103.

“Resacralizing the World: The Fate of Secularization in Enlightenment Historiography”
(Review Essay), Journal of Modern History 82 (June 2010): 368-395.

“The Value of Dispossession: Rethinking Discourses of Selfhood in Eighteenth-Century France,”
Modern Intellectual History 2, 3 (November 2005): 299-326.