Department of History
PhD, History, Princeton University MA, History, University at Albany BS, Geography, University at Albany
April G. Shelford is an intellectual historian of early modern Europe. Her article “Thinking Geometrically in Pierre-Daniel Huet’s Demonstratio evangelica (1679)” won the Selma Forkosch prize for best article published in the Journal of the History of Ideas in 2002. Her book Transforming the Republic of Letters: Pierre-Daniel Huet and European Intellectual Life, 1650-1720 (University of Rochester, 2007) was a study of the seventeenth-century Republic of Letters. She has published other articles on Huet in French History and History of Universities. A two-year visiting professorship at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, inspired her current project on the Enlightenment in the Caribbean. Her research so far has led to the publication of “Sea Tales: Nature and Liberty in an English Seaman’s Journal” in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture (2004) and “Race and Scripture in the Eighteenth-Century French Caribbean” in Atlantic Studies (2013). For three years, she was co-editor of the Proceedings of the Western Society for French History. She has held fellowships at the Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France; the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland; the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA; and the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, Providence, RI.
“Voltaire in the Caribbean,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Pittsburgh, April 2016
“The Colonial Press in 1760s Saint-Domingue,” presented at the conference “Print Media in the Colonial World,” Cambridge University, April 2015
“Male Sociability and Natural History in Eighteenth-Century Jamaica,” in the conference “Revolutions in 18th-century Sociability,” joint meeting of the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society, Montreal, October 2015
“Cultivating Knowledge,” presented to the colloquium “De l’observation à l’inscription: les savoirs sur l’Amérique entre 1600 et 1830 dans les textes d’expression française,” Groupe d’histoire de l’Atlantique français, McGill University, Montreal, June 2013
“Savvy. Surveillant. Sublime. How-to Writings for Planters in the Eighteenth-Century Caribbean,” John Carter Brown Library Fellows Talk, November 2012
“Science, Epistolary Sociability, and Publication in the 18th-century Francophone Atlantic World,” Western Society for French History, Banff, October 2012
"Paradise Lost: Fusée-Aublet’s Expedition to French Guyana (1763),” in a panel I organized, “Strangers in Paradise: Natural History and Colonial Calculation on the New World Frontier,” at the annual conference of the French Colonial Historical Society, New Orleans, May 2012
“Caribbean Jesuits,” annual conference of the Western Society for French History, Lafayette, LA, October 2010
“The slave in the garden: slave presences in natural history writings on the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century,” at Sciences et savoirs dans le monde atlantique francophone (XVIe-XVIIIe siècles) / Knowledge and science in the francophone Atlantic world (1500-1800) , Montréal, Québec (Canada), 26-28 April 2007 (Also presented at the Association of Caribbean Historians, May 6-10, 2007, Jamaica)
"Buttons and Blood: 'How to Write an Anti-Slavery Treatise in 1760s Paris," History of European Thought (2015)
“Civiliser le savoir créole : l’acclimatation métropolitaine des savoirs locaux,” in Mobilités et circulations des savoirs (Presses universitaires de Rennes), ed. Liliane Pérez and Pilar Gonzales-Bernaldo (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, July 2015)
"Race and Scripture in the Eighteenth-Century French Caribbean," Atlantic Studies (2013)
"Pascal in Jamaica: or, the French Enlightenment in Translation," Proceedings of the Western Society for French History (2008)
Transforming the Republic of Letters: Pierre-Daniel Huet and European Intellectual Life, 1650-1720 (University of Rochester Press, 2007)
“Sea Tales: Nature and Liberty in an English Seaman’s Journal,” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 33 (2004).
“Thinking Geometrically in Pierre-Daniel Huet’s Demonstratio evangelica (1679),” Journal of the History of Ideas (2002).
Research Curator, “New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Cultural Impact of an Encounter,” New York Public Library Exhibition, Fall 1992
Intellectual history of early modern Europe; the Enlightenment; the Atlantic World; histories of science, religion, and the classical tradition.
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
Fall 2012: Fellow, John Carter Brown Library, Providence, RI
Fall 2009: Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
July 2008: Library Resident Research Fellow (Isaac Comly Martindale Fund), American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spring 2004: Fellowship, Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France
Selma V. Forkosch Prize: Best Article (2002), “Thinking Geometrically in Pierre-Daniel Huet’s Demonstratio evangelica (1670), Journal of the History of Ideas
1997-1999: Mellon Fellow at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Lecturer in the History Department, Columbia University