Wesleyan portrait of Andrew S. Curran

Andrew S. Curran

William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities

300 High Street,

Professor of French

300 High Street, 203

Section Head


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BA Hamilton College
MA New York University
PHD New York University

Andrew S. Curran

Andrew Curran, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities at Wesleyan University, is a scholar of eighteenth-century France and a non-fiction writer. His journalistic writing has appeared in the New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Guardian, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Paris Review, El País, Folha de S. Paolo, and The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author or editor of five books. His most recent book, Who's Black and Why? A Hidden Chapter in the Eighteenth-Century Invention of Race (with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.) was published by Harvard University Press in 2022. This book was also nominated for a NAACP Image Award in the category of outstanding non-fiction work and received the 2023 Assocation of American Publishers Prose award for best book in European history.

He and Professor Gates have also produced a history of race timelime and have published Geoffrey Galt Harpham's Theories of Race on their www.whoisblackandwhy.com website.  

Curran's earlier books are Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely (Other Press, 2019), which was named one of the best biographies of 2019 by Kirkus Reviews, The Australian, The Independent, NRC, Irish TimesEl Cultural, O Globo, and Open Letters Review, and has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, and Chinese. His previous book, The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Era of Enlightenment, was A Choice Outstanding Academic Title and received the 2018 Louis Marin Prize from the French l’Académie des sciences d’outre-mer (L’Anatomie de la noirceur). His first monograph was entiteld Sublime Disorder. 

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 received grants and fellowships from the French Government, The Mellon Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities, NEH Public Scholarships, and, most recently, The Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Curran is currently serving on the editorial board of Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, Critical Philosophy of Race, and Diderot Studies. At Wesleyan, Curran teaches classes on race, travel, exploration, and the French Enlightenment. His next book, which will appear at Other Press, is entitled The Race Makers.

Professional websites: www.whoisblackandwhy.com and  www.andrewscurran.com

Contact: andrewscurran@me.com  / acurran@wesleyan.edu

Professor Andrew Curran, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities at Wesleyan University, completed his Ph.D. in French literature at New York University in 1996. He taught at Union College in Schenectady, New York, for two years before coming to Wesleyan. He has also directed the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris on two occasions. At Wesleyan, he teaches a variety of classes on French thought and culture from 1600-1900. 

Academic Affiliations

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Fall 2024
FREN 112 - 02
Intermediate French II

FREN 217 - 01