Benjamin Bernard

Graduate Prize Fellow

Benjamin Bernard is a fifth year graduate student in the Department of History. His dissertation project attempts to explain a revolution in metaethics from 1644-1763 that resulted in the emergence of a secular morality in Enlightenment France. He does so by tracing the concept of “mœurs” (mores or moral behavior) in a variety of institutional contexts ranging from priestly training, the education of magistrates, the policing of sexuality, and the ethics of law. While some treat the concept of “mores” as self-evident, he shows that the concept’s meaning evolved over time in contextually contingent ways. Benjamin’s broad research interests in history include political culture, gender and sexuality and education in early modern Europe. Recently, he has taught at Sciences Po (Reims, France) while a visiting doctoral student at the EHESS and ENS-Ulm in Paris. Before Princeton, he graduated with a B.A. in History from Yale.