Publications - Individual

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Faculty Member Publications

Listed below are some of the publications from Sophia Rosenfeld , Professor .

A Revolution in Language

The Problem of Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century France
( Stanford, 2001 )

A Revolution in Language shows not only that many key French revolutionary thinkers were unusually preoccupied by questions of language, but also that prevailing assumptions about words and other signs profoundly shaped revolutionaries to imagine and to institute an ideal polity between 1789 and the start of the new century. This book reveals the links between Enlightenment epistemology and the development of modern French political culture.

Common Sense

A Political History
( Harvard University Press, May 2011 )

Common sense has always been a cornerstone of American politics. In 1776, Tom Paine’s vital pamphlet with that title sparked the American Revolution. And today, common sense—the wisdom of ordinary people, knowledge so self-evident that it is beyond debate—remains a powerful political ideal, utilized alike by George W. Bush’s aw-shucks articulations and Barack Obama’s down-to-earth reasonableness. But far from self-evident is where our faith in common sense comes from and how its populist logic has shaped modern democracy. Common Sense: A Political History is the first book to explore this essential political phenomenon.



Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
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