Department of History

Ralph Kingston

Ralph Kingston Associate Professor
Thach 314A
(334) 844-6640
Personal web site

Office Hours

  • Monday 12:00-1:00 and Email for appointments
  • Wednesday 1:00-2:00


Ralph Kingston, Associate Professor in European history (Revolutionary Era), PhD University of London/UCL (2002), BA Trinity College Dublin (1997). His research interests lie at the intersections of the cultural, intellectual, and social histories of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France. He also has particular interests in the history of science, material history and the social history of space.

Dr. Kingston’s book, Bureaucrats and Bourgeois Society: Office Politics and Individual Credit in France, 1789-1848, appeared in 2012, published by Palgrave Macmillan. This book looks at changes in administrative culture in the 1790s and their ongoing effects on the daily lives of office workers, one of the most visible (and most criticized) segments of a new nineteenth-century bourgeois society. One part of this study, on new office spaces during the French Revolution, was published in French History (2006). This article won the 2008 Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-century Studies (SEASECS) Percy V. Adams prize.

During a postdoctoral British Academy fellowship, held at University College London, Dr. Kingston began a new book-length project, tentatively entitled Going Places, Exploring Spaces: French Expeditions and the Practice of Scientific Exploration, c.1750-1850. This book follows the men and women involved in proposing and patronizing, crewing and operating, debating and defining French explorations at sea and on land in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. It places them in specific material and social spaces: the ship and the camp, the meeting rooms of Parisian learned societies, the museum, and the colonial outpost. Part of this project, published in article in Endeavour, looked more closely at the failure of scientific cooperation onboard an early nineteenth-century voyage of discovery led by Nicolas Baudin.

In this project, digital history, and in particular digital mapping, has become a significant part of thinking through research questions. Dr. Kingston is currently working on a digital map of Louis-Antoine de Bougainville’s Voyage autour du monde, 1766-1769. He is also working with Auburn University’s digital librarians to build a portal for students interested in investigating the literary and scientific output of Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt, 1798-1802.

As well as teaching World History I and II, Dr. Kingston teaches courses on early modern and modern Europe, including 3000-level courses on European Explorations and Modern France, 5000-level courses on the Enlightenment and Revolution, 1715-1815 and Nineteenth-Century Europe, 1815-1918, and graduate seminars on Science and Society in Modern Europe (in 2011) and the French Revolution (in 2009 and 2015). He has also been given plenty of opportunities to teach Senior Thesis and the graduate Historical Methods course.


Representative Publications


Bureaucrats and Bourgeois Society: Office Politics and Individual Credit in France, 1789-1848 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)


  • "Armchair Expeditionaries: Voyages into the French Musée de la Marine, 1828-1878," in Martin Thomas, ed., Expedition into Empire: Exploratory Journeys and the Making of the Modern World (New York: Routledge, 2015).
  • “Trading places: Accumulation as mediation in French ministry map depots, 1798–1810,” History of Science 52, no. 3 (2014), link
  • “Capitalism in the Streets: Paris Shopkeepers, Passages Couverts, and the Production of the Early Nineteenth-Century City,” Radical History Review 114 (Fall 2012), link.
  • “Do ancient artifacts have politics?” (review article), Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 41, no. 4 (Fall 2011), link.
  • "The French Revolution and the Materiality of the Modern Archive," Libraries and the Cultural Record 46, no. 1 (March 2011), link.
  • "Mind over Matter? History and the Spatial Turn" (review article), Cultural and Social History 7, no. 1 (March 2010), link.
  • "A Not-So Pacific Voyage: the 'Floating Laboratory' of Nicolas Baudin," Endeavour 31, no. 4 (December 2007), link.
  • "The Bricks and Mortar of Revolutionary Administration," French History 20, no. 4 [Special Issue on Spaces and Places] (December 2006).
  • "The Men who Knew too Much: the Birth of Bureaucracy in Revolutionary France," in Hiram Morgan, ed., Information, Media and Power through the Ages (Dublin: UCD Press, 2001).

Last Updated: August 24, 2017