Olivier Zunz

James Madison Professor

Field & Specialties

Twentieth Century U.S.
Tocqueville and Jacksonian America


License d’histoire et de géographie (B.A.). Université de Paris X-Nanterre (1968).
Doctorat de troisième cycle , Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne (1977).
Doctorat d’État ès Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne (1982).



Philanthropy in America: A History. Princeton University Press, 2012. (French translation:  La Philanthropie en Amérique.  Argent privé, affaires d'Etat,  Fayard, 2012; Chinese Translation, Shangai University Press, 2017).


Why the American Century? University of Chicago Press, 1998. French translation: Le siècle américain, Fayard, 2000. Chinese translation, Xinhua Publishing Company, 2001; Italian translation, Perché il secolo americano? Preface by Arnaldo Bagnasco, Bologna: il Mulino, 2002 (Incontri); Japanese translation, Tosui Shobo, 2005.


Making America Corporate, 1870-1920. University of Chicago Press, 1990. French translation: L'Amérique en col blanc, Belin, 1991.


The Changing Face of Inequality: Urbanization, Industrial Development, and Immigrants in Detroit, 1880-1920. University of Chicago Press, 1982; French translation: Naissance de l'Amérique industrielle. Aubier, 1983.



Edited Volumes

Editor, Alexis de Tocqueville, Recollections:  The French Revolution of 1848 and its Aftermath, trans. Arthur Goldhammer.  University of Virginia Press, 2016.


Editor, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont in America:  Their Friendship and Their Travels, trans . Arthur Goldhammer.  University of Virginia Press, 2010.


Editor, Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. Arthur Goldhammer. The Library of America, 2004; Library of America, Paperback Classics, two volumes, 2012.


Editor, with Alan S. Kahan, The Tocqueville Reader: A Life in Letters and Politics. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.


Editor, with Leonard Schoppa and Nobuhiro Hiwatari, Social Contracts under Stress: The Middle Classes of America, Europe, and Japan at the Turn of the Century. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2002.


Editor, with David Ward, The Landscape of Modernity, Russell Sage Foundation, 1992.


Editor, Reliving the Past: The Worlds of Social History. University of North Carolina Press, 1985.



Recent Articles

“ De la philanthropie américaine pendant la Grande Guerre,” The Tocqueville Review/La Revue Tocqueville XXXVIII (2017), 2: 21-36


“Des Eglises en politique, ” Esprit, No. 434, Mai 2017, 84-92

Current Research

I am at work on a biography of Alexis de Tocqueville

Awards & Honors

Named Officier of the French Ordre National du Mérite, 2011.


Philanthropy project jointly funded by the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the University of Virginia Bankard Fund, 2005-2010.


Visiting appointments at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris: Directeur d’Études, Centre d’Études Nord-Américaines (May 1985-96, May 1998-2001, March 2002, May 2003-2011).


President, The Tocqueville Society/La Société Tocqueville (2001-2006).


Visiting Professor, Collège de France, 1997.


U.Va., Center for Advanced Studies, 1993-94.


Seminar Director: NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers, 1989, 1992, and 2016.


U.Va. Sesquicentennial Associate, 1982; 1991.


John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow, 1986-87.


Principal Investigator, National Endowment for the Humanities Grants, 1978-81 and 1984-87.


Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation grant, 1976-78.


Conference grants from the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (1993-94, 1997-98), the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (1998-99), the Russell Sage Foundation (1999-2000), the Florence Gould Foundation (2005), among others.

Courses Taught

HIUS 1501, Giving in America

HIUS 2002, The U.S. from 1865 to the present

HIUS 3131, The Emergence of Modern America

HIUS 4501, Interpreting American Democracy with Tocqueville as Guide