Professor
564 Hamilton Hall
919-962-3949
jaysmith@email.unc.edu
Curriculum Vitae

Education

BA Northern Illinois University, 1983
MA Northern Illinois University, 1985
PhD University of Michigan, 1990

Research Interests

Jay M. Smith is a specialist of early-modern France, especially in the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Most of his work traces the negotiation of change over time, and he often uses the history of language to gain access to processes of change. Smith has written about the development of royal absolutism, the emergence of patriotic habits of thought under the old regime, the origins of the French Revolution, the history of the nobility, and the fascinating legend surrounding the beast of the Gévaudan. His most recent book, written with Mary Willingham, provides an exposé of the UNC athletic-academic scandal and an assessment of the educational culture fostered in big-time sport programs. He is now working on several projects including scandal in the 1780s and municipal politics in the wake of the L’Averdy reforms of the 1760s.

Some Notable Publications

  • Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports (Potomac Books, 2015)
  • Monsters of the Gévaudan: The Making of a Beast (Harvard University Press: 2011)
  • The French Nobility in the Eighteenth Century: Reassessments and New Approaches (Penn State University Press, 2006)
  • Nobility Reimagined: The Patriotic Nation in Eighteenth-Century France (Cornell University Press, 2005)
  • The Culture of Merit: Nobility, Royal Service, and the Making of Absolute Monarchy in France, 1600–1789 (University of Michigan Press, 1996)

Graduate Students

Courses Taught (as schedule allows)

For current information about course offerings, click here.

  • HIST 84— (First Year Seminar)–Monsters, Murder and Mayhem in Microhistorical Analysis
  • HIST 309—Old Regime France, 1661-1787
  • HIST 310—The French Revolution
  • HIST 383— Big-Time College Sports and the Rights of Athletes, 1956-Present
  • HIST 516—Historical Time
  • HIST 711—Introductory Colloquium on Early Modern Europe
  • HIST 765—Problems in the History of the French Revolution