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Memoir

David D. Bien
Regents' Proceedings 400

David D. Bien, professor of history, will retire from active faculty status on May 31, 1996. Professor Bien received his A.B. degree from Washington and Lee University in 1951 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1952 and 1958, respectively. He taught at Princeton University and Wesleyan University prior to joining the University of Michigan faculty in 1967 as a professor of history.

An expert on the history of France in the eighteenth century and the French Revolution, Professor Bien is one of the few American historians whose work has had as major an impact on French and European scholarship as on that of other Americans. His elegantly written articles are notable for their tightly reasoned, original, and compelling arguments. His analyses, which are uncommonly precise yet integrate political, social, and intellectual history, have transformed scholarly understanding of the French state in the old regime and of the origins of the Revolution. His book, The Calas Affair: Persecution, Toleration, and Heresy in the Eighteenth-Century Toulouse, measured the spread of enlightenment ideas and demonstrated their connection to social mobility and changing conceptions of religion and family.

The only person to have twice been awarded the William Koren Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies (in 1958 and 1978), Professor Bien has also received numerous other awards and fellowships. He has taught many times at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and has been a leading participant in international conferences on the French Revolution. Professor Bien has served as chair of the Department of History and director of the University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin Study Abroad Program in Aix-en-Provence. He has taught all levels of undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom are now teaching at other universities. Widely recognized as applying and extending Professor Bien's ideas, they show the effects of his teaching in their well-elaborated arguments, painstaking research, and careful writing.

The Regents now salute this faculty member by naming David D. Bien professor emeritus of history.