The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Section Menu

Daniel Gordon

Professor of History, Honors Program Director

Portrait of Daniel Gordon

(413) 545-2223

Herter Hall 627

  • Professor at UMass Amherst since 1995.
  • Co-Editor in Chief of the journal Society.
  • Associate Dean of the Commonwealth Honors College (2009-2013). Designed the honors seminar, "Ideas that Changed the World."
  • Interim Dean of the Commonwealth Honors College (2013-2015). Oversaw opening of new honors residential complex.
  • Co-Director of the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (2008-2012).  The first academic program in entrepreneurship on campus. Subsequently moved partly into ISOM and partly into Valley Venture Mentors.
  • Director, Bachelor's Degree with Individual Concentration (2008-2013). Founded (with Ray Hedin and Margaret Lamb) the Annual Individualized Major Programs Conference.

B.A., Columbia University (1983); Ph.D., University of Chicago (1990); M.S.L., Yale Law School (2003). 

Daniel Gordon has published extensively on the French Enlightenment.  His book Citizens Without Sovereignty (Princeton University Press, 1994) is assigned in many graduate seminars and cited in textbooks as a contribution to the debate about the origins of the French Revolution.  His translation of Voltaire's Candide (2nd edition, Bedford Saint-Martins Press, 2016), based on original translation principles, has sold 50,000 copies; it is widely assigned in survey courses in European history.

Gordon co-edited the journal Historical Reflections from 2002 to 2016.  During this time, his own publications branched out to 20th-century and contemporary intellectual and legal history. He has published extensively on controversies concerning the Muslim headscarf and veil, and has written numerous portraits of 20th-century intellectuals, such as Hannah Arendt, Raymond Aron, and Robert Nisbet.

Research Areas

European history
European and American social and political thought
Comparative law
History of higher education


For full list with complete texts, see ResearchGate profile.

Selected List

What Is Academic Freedom? A Century of Debate, 1915-Present (Routledge Press, 2022)

"The Firing of Angela Davis at UCLA, 1969-1970: Communism, Academic Freedom, and Freedom of Speech," in Society (2020).

Editor, The Anthem Companion to Alexis de Tocqueville (Anthem Press, 2019)

"Telling the Whole Truth: Albert Memmi,” in Jewish Review of Books (Spring, 2018)

"The Perplexities of Beginning: Hannah Arendt's Theory of Revolution," in Peter Baehr and Phillip Walsh, eds., The Anthem Companion to Hannah Arendt, (Anthem Press, 2017).

"From Act to Fact: The Transformation of Suicide in Western Thought," Historical Reflections, vol. 42, issue 2 (Summer, 2016), pp. 32-51.

"Uncivilized Civilization: Raynal and the Global Public Sphere," in Raynal's Histoire des deux Indes: Colonialism, Networks, and Global Exchange (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation, 2015), pp. 103-117.

"Research for Whom?" (A history of the concept of academic research from 1820 to the present.), Knowledge for Whom?, ed. Andreas Hess and Christian Fleck (Ashgate, 2013). 

"From the Headscarf to the Burqa: The Role of Social Theorists in Shaping Laws on the Veil,Economy and Society  (May, 2013). Co-authored with Peter Baehr. 

"Unmasking and Disclosure as Sociological Practices: Contrasting Modes for Understanding Religious and Other Beliefs,"  Journal of Sociology  (December, 2012). Co-authored with Peter Baehr. 

"The Confidence Factor in Liberal Education," Liberal Education  (fall 2012). 

"Raymond Aron on Secular Religion and Communism," Journal of Classical Sociology  (2011). 

"Why Is There No Headscarf Affair in the United States?" Historical Reflections  (Winter 2008). 

From Emergency Law to Legal Process: Herbert Wechsler and the Second World War,” Suffolk University Law Review  (2007), co-authored with Malick W. Ghachem. 

Editor (with Michael Kwass), "Money in the Enlightenment," a special volume of Historical Reflections (Summer, 2005). 

Numerous review essays for History and Theory, including "Is Tocqueville Defunct?" (vol. 43, 2004). 

Articles in the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment  (Oxford UP, 2003) on "Citizenship," "Ernst Cassirer," "Sociability," and other topics. 

"The Theater of Terror: The Jacobin Execution in Comparative and Theoretical Perspective," Historical Reflections  (Summer, 2003) 

Editor of Postmodernism and the Enlightenment  (Routledge, 2001). 

Translation of Voltaire's  Candide  (Bedford St. Martins, 1999). Over 40,000 copies sold. 

Citizens Without Sovereignty (Princeton University Press, 1994).

Courses Recently Taught

Western Thought to 1600
U.S. Constitutional History
Ideas that Changed History
Foreign Perceptions of the United States
Comparative Law
The Political Theory of the American Revolution