A specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century intellectual history, Charles Clavey studies the intersection of the social sciences and political thought in European and transatlantic contexts. His research interests include the histories of philosophical concepts, social-scientific knowledge, political culture, and subjectivities and emotions. He is currently preparing a manuscript, tentatively entitled Experiments in Theory: Social Science at the Frankfurt School, that recovers the long-neglected role of the social sciences—from cultural anthropology to industrial sociology—in the development of critical theory. A second research project traces the emergence and transformation of the concept of “authoritarianism” across the twentieth century. In addition to this historical research, Charles is interested in methodological and philosophical debates within the social sciences.
Currently a Lecturer on Social Studies, Charles received his Ph.D. in History in 2019. Prior to coming to Harvard, he earned a B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University (2010) and an M.Phil. in History (Political Thought and Intellectual History) from Cambridge University (2011), where he was the Euretta J. Kellett Fellow.
Charles' work has appeared in Modern Intellectual History, The Los Angeles Review of Books, New Rambler Review, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
In 2021-2022, Charles is Co-Chair of the Seminar on Academic Knowledge: Past and Future at the Center for European Studies.