Honors College Faculty
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: Religion, Politics, and Public Opinion in the Gard, 1938-1944" (Penn State University, 1995), "Cock and Bull Stories: Folco de Baroncelli and the Invention of the Camargue" (Nebraska, 2004), "Albert Camus: Elements of a Life" (Cornell, 2010), "A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for 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 Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Foreign Affairs, Slate, Foreign Policy, Times Higher Education Magazine, and Chronicle of Higher Education. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and his doctorate in history from the University of Virginia.