Professor Dan Edelstein works for the most part on eighteenth-century France, with research interests in literature, history, political thought, and digital humanities. Most recently, he has completed a book manuscript on the history of natural and human rights from the wars of religion to the age of revolution (On the Spirit of Rights, forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press in fall 2018). An early version of this research appeared in the Journal of Modern History; a more theoretical piece is in Humanity; and a synopsis of the first part of this book's argument can be found in an article for Critical Analysis of Law.
His first book, The Terror of Natural Right: Republicanism, the Cult of Nature, and the French Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2009), examined how natural law theories, classical republicanism, and the myth of the golden age became fused in eighteenth-century political culture, only to emerge as a violent ideology during the Terror. This book won the 2009 Oscar Kenshur Book Prize. His second book, entitled The Enlightenment: A Genealogy (University of Chicago Press, 2010), explored how the idea and narrative of "Enlightenment" emerged in French academic circles around the 1720's. Professor Edelstein edited three volumes of essays, one for Yale French Studies, on Myth and Modernity, another for SVEC (Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, now the Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment) on The Super-Enlightenment; and a third, with Keith Baker, on Scripting Revolution (Stanford University Press). Three more are in production.