Dena Goodman

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Dena Goodman

Lila Miller Collegiate Professor of History and Women's Studies

Office Location(s): 2144 Lane Hall
Phone: 734.647.0771
View Curriculum Vitae

  • Affiliation(s)
    • History
    • Women's Studies
  • Fields of Study
    • Early Modern France, Enlightenment, Women and Gender
  • About


    Dena Goodman is Lila Miller Collegiate Professor of History and Women's Studies and co-director of “The Encyclopedia of Diderot and D’Alembert Collaborative Translation Project,” (, a digital library project housed at the University of Michigan. Her latest book, Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters explores the lives of women and the meaning of gender in eighteenth-century France through the lens of letter writing as a cultural practice. It was published by Cornell University Press in 2009. Earlier work explored Enlightenment political thought and the role of Parisian salonnières in shaping the intellectual sociability of the Enlightenment. She has edited collective volumes on a variety of topics: the contributions of women writers to the shaping of the public sphere, Marie-Antoinette, and the cultural meanings of furniture in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world.

    Selected Publications:
    Major Publications:

    Criticism in Action: Enlightenment Experiments in Political Writing. Cornell University Press, 1989.

    The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment. Cornell University Press, 1994.

    Going Public: Women and Publishing in Early Modern France. Edited with Elizabeth C. Goldsmith. Cornell University Press, 1995.

    Marie Antoinette: Writings on the Body of a Queen. Routledge, 2003.

    The Enlightenment. Edited with Kathleen Wellman. Series: Problems in European Civilization. Houghton-Mifflin, 2004.

    Furnishing the Eighteenth Century: What Furniture Can Tell Us About the European and American Past. Edited with Kathryn Norberg. Routledge, 2006.

    Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters (Cornell University Press, 2009).

    . Recent Articles:

    “Furnishing Discourses: Readings of a Writing Desk in Eighteenth-Century France,” in Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger, eds., Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods. Palgrave, 2002.

    “L’Ortografe des Dames: Gender and Language in the Old Regime,” French Historical Studies 25 (Spring 2002); reprinted in Sarah Knott and Barbara Taylor, eds., Women,Gender, and Enlightenment (Palgrave, 2005).

    “Letter Writing and the Emergence of Gendered Subjectivity in Eighteenth-Century France,” Journal of Women’s History 17 (Summer 2005)

    Digital Library Project:

    Project Director: The Encyclopedia of Diderot and d'Alembert: Collaborative Translation Project launched October 2002.

  • Education
    • Ph.D. Chicago, 1982