Lecturer, Humanities Program and Department of History
Fields of interest:
modern European social and political thought; radical ideologies; resistance movements; socialism; human rights; critical theory
Terence Renaud is a historian of modern Europe who specializes in German intellectual history, revolutions, and social movements. His book, New Lefts: The Making of a Radical Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2021), argues that a basic continuity existed between three moments in the history of the German and Western European left: radical antifascism in the 1920s-30s, left socialism in the 1940s-50s, and anti-authoritarianism in the 1960s. That continuity was based on internal revolts against the organizational form of established parties and unions. Small groups of militant youth such as New Beginning (Neu Beginnen) in Germany tried to sustain grassroots movements without reproducing the bureaucratic, hierarchical, and ostensibly obsolete structures of Social Democracy and Communism. They experimented with nonparty modes of organization such as councils, committees, assemblies, and even militias. This book offers both the first long-term history of new lefts and a general theory of neoleftism. Renaud’s work has appeared in academic journals such as Modern Intellectual History, The Historical Journal, and New German Critique as well as popular magazines such as the Los Angeles Review of Books and Foreign Policy. His new research project concerns the visual history of capitalism in Europe and North America, as represented in cartoons, caricatures, and other images of social hierarchy around the turn of the twentieth century. At Yale he teaches in Directed Studies and offers interdisciplinary seminars on European intellectual history, theories and practices of resistance, and modern revolutions.