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Stanford Report, January 19, 2000

Keith Baker named cognizant dean for the humanities

Keith Baker, the J. E. Wallace Sterling Professor in Humanities and a professor of history and director of the Stanford Humanities Center, has been appointed cognizant dean for the humanities in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

In his Jan. 12 announcement of the appointment, H&S Dean Malcolm Beasley noted that "it is crucial that we take full advantage of the investments of resources, time and effort made by President Casper, the School, and our faculty to move the humanities to higher levels of excellence. I am confident that Keith Baker will be successful in capitalizing on this momentum and in leading the humanities in new and imaginative directions."

Baker, who has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1988, is one of the world's foremost historians of 18th-century France. His research has focused on problems of intellectual history and the history of political culture, and he is author of what is widely considered to be the definitive study of the marquis de Condorcet, the philosopher of progress and social science who was one of the great figures of the French Enlightenment and Revolution.

More recently, Baker's research on the cultural and political origins of the French Revolution has made important contributions to the development of a new understanding of that event and of its significance for the creation of modern politics.

Baker received his B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University, and his Ph.D. from University College, London, and the Institute for Historical Research, London. He served for almost a decade as co-editor of the Journal of Modern History, the leading English-language quarterly for research in modern European history. He is scheduled to assume the presidency of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in 2001.

Among many honors and awards, Baker has held a Guggenheim Fellowship, has been named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As Director of the Humanities Center, he is the Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities.

Baker is recognized for the number and quality of doctoral students he has trained. His success as a mentor of young historians has been enhanced by his close ties with the French academic world. SR