Drew Starling


Senior Fellow in History and Dean's Fellow for Teaching Excellence


Drew Starling's work examines the ways in which new audiences, new forms of media, and new efforts to control both transformed the nature of public debates and magnified their impact in early modern Europe. His dissertation, entitled “From Meditation to Information: Reading after Unigenitus,” explores how the 1713 condemnation of a seventeenth-century, French-language Bible commentary led to a transformation in popular French reading practices, from a practice that was primarily meditative to one that was primarily informative. In helping to bring about this shift, this controversy contributed to a more general "reading revolution" in eighteenth-century Europe and to the making of the critical spirit of the Age of Enlightenment. At the same time, the controversy challenged confidence in public judgment at the very moment that the public was beginning to emerge as an authoritative force in eighteenth-century French politics.

Alongside his work on eighteenth-century France, Starling has written and published on the trans-Atlantic publication history of The Federalist Papers

At Penn, he teaches courses on the history of communication and global history. 


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (2022)

M.Phil., University of Cambridge (2014)

B.A., summa cum laude, University of Pennsylvania (2013)

Research Interests

History of Media, History of the Book, History of Censorship and Free Speech, Eighteenth-Century Intellectual History, History of the Enlightenment, History of the French Revolution, History of Popular and Public Opinion, History of Early Modern Europe

Courses Taught

Making of a Modern World: Thirteen Innovations that Changed Human History (Coming Spring 2023) 

From Tablets to Tablets: A Long History of Technology and Communication (Fall 2022)

From Scrolls to Scrolling: A Long History of Technology and Communication (Fall 2021)

Introduction to Global Studies (Online Course) (Fall 2021)

The History of God (Fall 2017) 

European Diplomatic History (Spring 2017) 

Hollywood and American History (Fall 2016) 

Making of a Modern World: Thirteen Innovations that Changed Human History (Spring 2016) 

The Cold War: A Global History (Fall 2015)

Selected Publications

“‘A simple, short, and exact account of the facts?’ The Nouvelles ecclésiastiques in the Eighteenth-Century French Information Press,” French Historical Studies (forthcoming February 2022) 

“Unmasking Publius: authorial attribution and the making of The Federalist,” Book History 25, no. 1(Spring 2022): 63-95.

CV (file)