Dr Olivier Tonneau


College position:

Director of Studies in Modern and Medieval Languages, College Assistant Professor

Dr Olivier Tonneau
Dr Olivier Tonneau

Dr Olivier Tonneau is a specialist of early-modern French thought, especially Pascal and Diderot, and lecture and supervise for the related papers: Fr4, Fr5, Fr9 and Fr10.


Subject areas

French Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages

Research Interests

Theology, ethics, politics, the relation between philosophy and literature, Pascal, Diderot, Robespierre, the French revolution, Aimé Césaire...

Dr Tonneau currently researches the historiography of the French revolution, especially from a colonial/postcolonial perspective, with a view to assessing its relevance to contemporary political debates.

Teaching And Professional Interests

Because it is important to make scholarship contribute to the understanding of current affairs, I am involved in the Cambridge Radical Theory And Practice Seminar.


Doctorate in Modern Languages from the Université Paris-IV Sorbonne, Masters of Arts from the University of Cambridge

Besse Scholar 2002-2003

Links to online publications, articles or other work

22 Nov 2015 Paris y los intereses creados del terrorismo, in Sin Permiso

13 Nov 2015 What Paris means to those who grieve, in French New Online

8 Feb 2015 ¿Quién teme al Incorruptible? Pablo Iglesias y la revolución francesa, in Sin Permiso

18 Feb 2015 Pablo Iglesias is right to invoke the guillotine and the French revolution, in The Guardian

13 Jan 2015 Charlie Hebdo is giving us a lesson in humanity, in Time

13 Jan 2015 Charlie Hebdo: A Letter to my british friends (abridged version), in The Guardian

Articles in academic journals and websites:

Dec 2015 An Apology for French republicanism, in Radical Philosophy

Feb 2015 Qui a peur de l'Incorruptible? Pablo Iglesias et la Révolution française (complete version), in Révolution-française.net

Jan 2015 On Religion and irreverence: letter from an old English fart, in Islamicommentary.org

Jan 2015 On Charlie Hebdo: A Letter to my British friends (complete version), in Islamicommentary.org

Dec 2013 '«Sur les fonts plus belle et plus lumineuse que le soleil». Analyse scaramentelle et sociale de la grâce'. In Seventeenth Century French Studies (2013:12).

Nov 2012 'The Science of the cross'. In Rhetorics of Eloquence, Medieval and Early Modern French Studies No 10, Nicholas Hammond and Michael Moriarty (ed),Peter Lang

Oct 2011 'No Happiness without Virtue. In Defense of Diderot's Defense of Virtue', in The Legacy of the Enlightenment, Timo Kaitaro (ed), Peter Lang

July 2010 'La Négritude et l'Afrique dans le Cahier d'un retour au pays natal', in Revue Africulture (2010:3)

July 2006 '«Ah! Si vous pouviez lire au fond de mon cœur…» Reconnaissance et philosophie de l'esprit', in Studies on Voltaire and the 18th Century, (2006:12).

July 2005 'Diderot et Socrate : la maïeutique et ses entraves', in SVEC (2005: 07)

July 2003 'La représentation de l'idée: désir et refus de l'allégorie chez Diderot', in SVEC (2003: 07)

Jan 2003 'Le vers à l'épreuve de la musique', in SVEC (2003: 01)