Professor Stephen Sawyer

Prof. Stephen Sawyer

Stephen W. Sawyer is the Ballantine-Leavitt Professor of History and Director of the Center for Critical Democracy Studies. Sawyer came to AUP from the University of Chicago center in Paris and the Ecole Normale Supérieure-rue d’Ulm where he was lecturer in the final years of his dissertation. After receiving fellowships from the EHESS, Fulbright, and Sciences Po, Sawyer served as part-time assistant to Pierre Rosanvallon at the Collège de France. A specialist in political history and theory, Sawyer earned his PhD at the University of Chicago. He has served on the editorial board of the Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales and as the Associate Editor for its English version since 2012. In 2014-15, he was named inaugural Neubauer Collegium Fellow at the University of Chicago. Appointed Directeur de publications of The Tocqueville Review/La Revue Tocqueville in 2014, he founded the online platform Tocqueville21 in 2017. In 2018-2019, he was named research fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. In Spring 2020 he was invited Kratter Visiting Professor to the History Department at Stanford University.

The core of his project articulates a history and theory of democracy as a mode of popular magistrature, administration and public regulation. The project advances along two dimensions: first, a critical intellectual history featuring a close rereading of key texts and authors that may be read surprisingly differently when one places democracy – rather than liberalism or republicanism – at the center of our histories of political modernity. Second, the project turns on a rediscovery and re-prioritization of the variety of substantive and concrete activities, programs, and policies that have constituted democratic action. The first volume of this project was published in 2018 under the title Demos Assembled: Democracy and the International Origins of the Modern State, 1840-1880 (University of Chicago Press). It was followed by a monograph entitled La contingence et le pouvoir (Armand Colin, 2018). This book, focusing on the highly contentious figure Adolphe Thiers, further elaborated the project’s methodology, “a pragmatic history of the political.” He is currently preparing the second volume on Regulation and the Birth of the Democratic Social Contract, 1810-1850. The project as a whole self-consciously builds on late twentieth-century, primarily French, democratic and social theory. Sawyer has explored this work and its legacy in a series of edited volumes, including: In Search of the Liberal Moment: Democracy, Antitotalitarianism and Intellectual Politics in France since 1950 (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2016); Pierre Rosanvallon's Political Thought (Bielefeld University Press, 2018); Michel Foucault, Neoliberalism and Beyond (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019); and his translation of Michel Foucault's lectures Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2014). The international, historical and theoretical dimensions of this project have been explicitly elaborated in a series of co-edited volumes with his colleagues William Novak and James Sparrow, including Beyond Stateless Democracy (Tocqueville Review, Spring 2015), A Comparative History of the French and American Democratic States (Tocqueville Review, 2012) and Boundaries of the State in US History (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Alongside these 9 volumes, the project includes over sixty articles, book chapters and reviews, in six countries and leading journals including The American Historical Review, Annales. Histoire, Sciences sociales, The Journal of Modern History, Modern Intellectual History, The European History Quarterly and The Tocqueville Review.

Professor Julian Culp

Prof. Julian Culp

Professor Culp is Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Program Coordinator for Philosophy, and Fellow of the Center for Critical Democracy Studies at The American University of Paris. Before moving to Paris, he was a fellow, lecturer and research associate in philosophy and political theory at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main from 2008 to 2018, where he received his Habilitation and PhD in philosophy. Culp also held postdoctoral fellowships at the Hoover Chair for Social and Economic Ethics of the University of Louvain in 2017 and at the Centre for Ethics of the University of Toronto in 2014/15.

In his research, Culp defends a democratic approach to social (and global) justice, according to which the question “What is a just (global) distribution of resources?” should be answered indirectly by responding first of all to the question “Who is to decide what counts as a just (global) distribution of resources?” Based on this approach Culp conceives citizenship education as democratic conscientization and maintains that educational policy must empower citizens to exercise democratic control in domestic as well as in inter- and transnational politics. More recently, Culp has started to work on issues of democratic citizenship in a digitized society.

Culp is the author of Global Justice and Development (Palgrave, 2014) and of Democratic Education in a Globalized World (Routledge, 2019), as well as of numerous articles in journals such as Philosophy Compass, The European Journal of Political Theory, Theory and Research in Education, Third World Quarterly and Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung. He also serves as co-editor of the journal Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric and of the book series Philosophy of Education – Debates and Constellations (mentis Verlag). He co-edited Education and Migration (Routledge, 2020).

Professor Miranda Spieler

Prof. Miranda Spieler

Professor Miranda Spieler joined the faculty of the American University of Paris in 2012. She holds an AB from Harvard College, where she studied the history and literature of France and Germany. In graduate school at Columbia University in New York, she worked as assistant to the writer Susan Sontag, taught Columbia's flagship course, Contemporary Civilization, and served as lecturer in Harvard's History and Literature program. After graduate school, she joined the department of history at the University of Arizona, where she received tenure in 2011.

She is an historian of France and the overseas empire and writes about law and imperial violence. She is especially interested in using archives to recover the elusive and fragmentary traces of marginal people, including slaves, former slaves, immigrants, prisoners, and vagabonds in France and in former colonies. Her research for Empire and Underworld led her to archival depositories in France and in French Guiana (where she spent six months).

Her new book project focuses on the story of people of color living in Paris and in the port cities of France during the eighteenth century.

Roman Zinigrad

Roman Zinigrad

Roman Zinigrad is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Critical Democracy Studies at AUP. He joined the D.Rad research project based at the Center and funded by the European Research Council. Roman is also a Clinical Fellow at the Sciences Po Law School where he supervises clinical research projects on education and environmental justice. His areas of research include Human Rights, Comparative Constitutional Law and Theory, as well as Law and Religion. He has published on the international right to education, on parental rights, and on constitutional law more generally. His more recent work looks at the impact of children’s rights on environmental law and the relationships of liberal regimes with illiberal minority groups.

Roman was member of the Drafting Committee of the “Abidjan Principles” (Guiding Principles on the Human Rights Obligations of States to Provide Public Education and to Regulate Private Involvement in Education) and a visiting scholar at the UCL School of Laws. He was awarded the Fox International Fellowship and the MacMillan International Dissertation Research Grant from Yale University. Roman has lectured at the Lille Catholic University Law School, the American University of Paris, Sciences Po, and at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Before his graduate studies, he has clerked with Honorable Justice Salim Joubran at the Israel Supreme Court.

Roman Zinigrad (JSD '21, Yale Law School) earned his LLM degree at Yale Law School, and MA (Phil) and LLB degrees at Bar-Ilan University (Israel). 


Student Contributors

Zachary Egan

Zachary Egan, Research Intern

Born in Šilutė, Lithuania and raised on the East Coast of the United States, Zach is an undergraduate at AUP majoring in History, Law & Society and minoring in International Law. Zach is working on his undergraduate thesis, which explores how both cultural and economic domination from Polish cities impacted the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Outside school, he loves playing tennis, weightlifting, and doing CrossFit. He speaks English and French and is learning German and Lithuanian.


Dominic Spada

Dominic Spada

Dominic Spada is originally from a small town just outside of Boston and is going into his senior year at AUP studying International and Comparative Politics. Dominic is particularly fascinated by European politics and development. He is currently a project assistant at the Institut Mines-Telecom Business School in Evry working on a team researching university-business collaboration and research valorisation. He is looking to stay in Europe following his education and hopes to work with international organisations in policy research and development.

Madison Coakley

Madison Coakley is a graduate of the American University of Paris and holds her Bachelor’s Degree in International and Comparative Politics with minors in Sociocultural Anthropology and Linguistics. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in International Development at the Graduate Institute of Geneva. Madison is interested in issues of sustainable development—especially, those related to education—and how new digital technologies are shaping the developing world.

Past Student Researchers and Interns

Anastasiya Sindyukova

Anastasiya Sindyukova, Communications Intern
Anastasiya Sindyukova is a student at the American University of Paris, from which she will be graduating with honors and a double major in International Comparative Politics and International Economics this Spring. Despite having a specialization focused on politics and economics, her interests, studies, and experiences have without a doubt inspired her to pursue a path of communications and public relations strategies, which she will be working on for the Center for Critical Democracy Studies. Being one of the undeniable backbones of global and political change, she plans to pursue a master's degree in strategic political communications shortly.

Her academic interests specialize in Ukrainian policy, encompassing topics from international security to international trade law. In 2019, she wrote her thesis, "Expanding Jurisdiction for the Prosecution of War Crimes Committed in Eastern Ukraine under Article 8 of the ICC Rome Statute," and plans to continue her research into the uses of mass media and various means of propaganda to influence Ukrainian politics between 2010-2021.

Kieran McTague

Kieran McTague, Research Intern

Kieran McTague is a Master's candidate in the International Affairs, Conflict Resolution and Civil Society Development program at The American University of Paris. He graduated with a BA cum laude in International Comparative Politics in 2019 from the same institution. He is an advocate for the rights of the child and has a professional background in the humanitarian field and in education. Currently, he is collaborating on a research project which aims to identify trends that lead to radicalization and the corresponding solutions.