Robert Zaretsky - University of Houston
Skip to main content
Rob Zaretsky

Robert Zaretsky

Honors College Faculty

Email: rzaretsky@uh.edu
Phone: 713.743.9018

Robert Zaretsky has a joint appointment between the Honors College and the Department of Modern and Classical Languages (MCL) in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. He teaches a variety of Honors and MCL courses, ranging from the histories of existentialism and terrorism to the histories of Paris and Berlin. He is the author of several books, including Nîmes at War (Penn State University 1995), Cock and Bull Stories: Folco de Baroncelli and the Invention of the Camargue (Nebraska 2004), Albert Camus: Elements to a Life (Cornell 2010), A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest of Meaning (Harvard 2013), Boswell’s Enlightenment (Harvard 2015), Catherine & Diderot: The Empress, the Philosopher and the Fate of the Enlightenment (Harvard 2019) and The Subversive Simone Weil: A Life in Five Ideas (Chicago 2021). He is the co-author, with John Scott, of The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding (Yale 2009); and with Alice Conklin and Sarah Fishman of France and its Empire Since 1870 (Oxford 2010). Zaretsky has just completed a book for University of Chicago Press, Thinking Through A Plague, that discusses how earlier plague texts can help us make sense of our pandemic. He is now writing a biography of the French novelist Stendhal for Basic Books. Zaretsky is the former history editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books, and a frequent contributor to the New York TimesWashington Post, Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Foreign Affairs, Slate, Foreign Policy, Times Higher Education Magazine, and Chronicle of Higher Education. He earned his bachelor’s in philosophy from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and his doctorate in history from the University of Virginia.