ANDREW S. CURRAN is the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities and Professor of French at Wesleyan University. He was also Dean of Arts and Humanities at the university from 2009 to 2013.
Curran is fascinated by eighteenth-century France: by the ideas, the freshness, the innocence, the hope, the naiveté, as well the darkness that hung over the era. His last book, The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Era of Enlightenment (A Choice Outstanding Academic Title) is the first comprehensive study of the birth of race in French thought. Published by Johns Hopkins University Press (2011, 2013), this study recently came out in French translation at Classiques Garnier in fall of 2017.
Curran is a fellow in the history of medicine at the New York Academy of Medicine and a Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes Académiques. He has also received grants and fellowships from the French Government, The Mellon Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Humanities, most recently an NEH Public Scholarship fellowship for his biography on Denis Diderot. He was also awarded American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies’ Clifford Prize for the best article in eighteenth-century studies.
Born on Long Island and raised in Queens and then upstate New York, Curran has also spent years in France and attempts, whenever possible, to return to Paris where, among other things, he met his wife, rode motorcycles, studied wine, and learned how to cook. A committed humanist who believes, like Diderot, that “skepticism is the first step toward truth,” he has long believed that studying the great minds and lives of the past can help bring about better days for us all.
Curran lives in Connecticut with his wife Jen. They have two children.