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Sarah Maza

Jane Long Professor in the Arts and Sciences and Professor of History

Ph.D., Princeton, 1978
Curriculum Vitae


Geographic Field(s):  Medieval and Early Modern European History; Modern European History: France and Global Francophonie

Thematic Field(s):  Legal and Criminal History; Gender and Sexuality History

Principal Research Interest(s):  Early Modern and Modern French History, Social and Cultural History, Historical Theory and Methods.


Sarah Maza (Ph.D., Princeton, 1978), Jane Long Professor in the Arts and Sciences, specializes in the history of France from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, with a focus on social, cultural and intellectual history. Most of her work concerns “the social imaginary,” the ways in which people in the past have understood, experienced and represented social identities, particularly class identities. She has published Servants and Masters in Eighteenth-Century France: The Uses of Loyalty (Princeton University Press, 1983), Private Lives and Public Affairs: the Causes Célèbres of Pre-Revolutionary France (University of California Press, 1993), which won the David Pinkney Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies, The Myth of the French Bourgeoisie: An Essay on the Social Imaginary, 1750-1850 (Harvard University Press, 2003) winner of the George Mosse Prize of the American Historical Association, and Violette Nozière: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris (University of California Press, 2011) singled out as an “editor’s choice” by the New York Times Book Review.  She also works on issues of theory and methodology, has published articles on cultural history, history and literature, and interdisciplinarity, and coedited the Blackwell Companion to Western Historical Thought (2002). Her most recent book, an introduction to the discipline entitled Thinking About History, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2017.  Maza’s research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

Recent Publications


  • Thinking About History, University of Chicago Press, 2017.
  • Violette Nozière: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris, University of California Press, 2011.
  • The Myth of the French Bourgeoisie: An Essay on the Social Imaginary, Harvard University Press, 2003.
  • ed., with Lloyd Kramer, A Companion to Western Historical Thought, Blackwell, 2002.
  • Private Lives and Public Affairs: The Causes Célèbres of Pre-Revolutionary France, University of California Press, 1993.
  • Servants and Masters in Eighteenth-Century France: The Uses of Loyalty, Princeton University Press, 1983.

Representative Articles

  • “The Kids Aren’t All Right: Historians and the Problem of Childhood” American Historical Review 125 (October 2020), 1261-1285 
  • “Interdisciplinarity: (Why) is it still an issue?” Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 2006:12, 3-17.
  • “Stephen Greenblatt, New Historicism, and Cultural History or What we Talk about When we Talk about Interdisciplinarity” Modern Intellectual History 1 (2004): 249-265.
  • "Luxury, Morality, and Social Change: Why there Was no Middle-Class Consciousness in Prerevolutionary France" Journal of Modern History 69 (June 1997): 199-229.
  • “Stories in History: Cultural Narratives in Recent Works in European History” American Historical Review 101 (December 1996): 1493-1515.               
  • "Domestic Melodrama as Political Ideology: The Case of  the Comte de Sanois (1786)" American Historical Review 94  (December 1989): 1249-1264.

Teaching Interests 

  • In anticipation of retirement, Professor Maza is no longer accepting graduate students.

Recent Awards and Honors

  • 2021: Edward Koren Article Prize, Society for French Historical Studies
  • 2019: Rockefeller Center Bellagio Fellowship
  • 2016: Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship, Northwestern University
  • 2015: Editorial Board, American Historical Review
  • 2013: American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 2007-2008: Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University