Deborah Fitzgerald, the Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has named Jeffrey S. Ravel, a professor of history, as head of the MIT History section, effective July 1.
“I’m delighted that Jeff has agreed to take on this post," Fitzgerald says. "He is an outstanding historian, committed both to the mission of MIT History and to its members, and I am confident he will ensure the continued excellence of the section."
Ravel, who holds a secondary appointment in Global Studies and Languages, researches French and European political culture from the mid-17th through mid-19th centuries. He is author of "The Would-Be Commoner: A Tale of Deception, Murder, and Justice in Seventeenth Century France" (Houghton Mifflin, 2008) and "The Contested Parterre: Public Theater and French Political Culture, 1680-1791" (Cornell University Press, 1999).
“I am privileged to be able to serve as head of this dynamic section,” Ravel says. “Our MIT historians write cutting-edge monographs, and publish in national and international newspapers and journals. They contribute to the newest frontiers in world and transnational history, and to the history of the environment. In our graduate seminars and undergraduate classrooms, we introduce MIT’s brilliant students to the pleasures and paradoxes of the past. In doing so, we foster an historical literacy that encourages MIT students to think deeply about change in earlier periods. Having a nuanced understanding of past successes and failures — one that takes into account multiple factors over variable time frames — helps our graduates fulfill MIT's mission of service to the nation and the world.”
Ravel, who joined the MIT faculty in 1997, is a co-founder of CÉSAR, a website devoted to the study of 17th-and 18th-century French theater. He also directs the Comédie-Française Registers Project, a collaborative venture with the Bibiliothèque-musée of the Comédie Française theater troupe and several French universities. He is a past co-president of the Society for French Historical Studies, and current president of the MIT chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.