Jessica Riskin

Professor of History of Science

History Department, Building 200
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2024

Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, 1995
B.A. Harvard University, Department of History, 1988

Curriculum Vitae


Background and Current Research

Jessica Riskin received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and taught at MIT for several years before coming to Stanford, and has also taught at Sciences Po, Paris. Her research interests include Enlightenment science, politics and culture and the history of scientific explanation. She is the author of Science in the Age of Sensibility: The Sentimental Empiricists of the French Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2002), which won the American Historical Association's J. Russell Major Prize for best book in English on any aspect of French history, and the editor of Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life (University of Chicago Press, 2007) and, with Mario Biagioli, of Nature Engaged: Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present (Palgrave, 2012). Her new book on the history of mechanist accounts of life entitled The Restless Clock, has just been released from the University of Chicago Press.

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Riskin's Work:


  • The Scientific Revolution
  • Science and Law in History
  • Science in the Making
  • The Enlightenment
  • What is Life? The History of a Question
  • Research Seminar for Majors