Professor Emeritus, History

Since 2007, I have retired from teaching and moved to Pittsburgh, where I continue to explore early modern French history and monitor the progress of scholarship in the field. My broad synthesis, A Social and Cultural History of Early Modern France, has just been published (2009) by Cambridge University Press. I continue to be interested in popular protest, popular culture, and popular violence. In 2009 I was awarded a Mellon Emeritus Fellowship to continue my study of "The Inner Workings of French Absolutism: Louis XIV in the 1690s." I continue to serve as co-editor of the New Approaches to European History series from Cambridge University Press.

William Beik is the author of Absolutism and Society in Seventeenth-Century France: State Power and Provincial Aristocracy in Languedoc (1985), awarded the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize by the American Historical Association; Urban Protest in Seventeenth-Century France: the Culture of Retribution (1997) Louis XIV and Absolutism: A Brief Study with Documents (2000); and A Social and Cultural History of Early Modern France (2009).

My Curriculum Vitae


  • BA, Haverford College, 1963.
  • MA, Harvard University, 1966.
  • PhD, Harvard University, 1969.