Expand the section navigation mobile menu

Sara Chapman Williams

Headshot - Sara Chapman

Title: Associate Professor
Office: 414 Varner Hall
Phone: (248) 370-3526
Fax: (248) 370-3528
Email: [email protected]

Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D., Georgetown University

Major Fields:
Early Modern France and Europe, Early French Colonial History

My area of expertise is the study of government and political authority in France in the late 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries. My book, Private Ambition and Political Alliances, examined the kinship and political clientage networks connecting royal ministers at the Court to regional elites during the later reign of King Louis XIV (r.1643-1715). In the work, I argued these political networks provided a basis for the centralization and standardization of government in this period. My current research project, an extension of my earlier research, focuses on the governance and settlement of early French colonies in New France (Canada and the Great Lakes) in the 17th and early 18th centuries, including a study of the Detroit colony founded in 1701.

I regularly teach the introductory European history survey course (HST 102). Also, I offer an array of upper-level undergraduate courses on the political, social, cultural and gender history of early modern France and Europe. The “French Revolution” is one of my regular course offerings. I also frequently teach the graduate historiography seminar and work with M.A. students in the department.



Private Ambition and Political Alliances: The Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain Family and Louis XIV's Government, 1650-1715 (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2004).

Articles and Book Chapters

“Reluctant Expansionists: Louis XIV, the Ministers of the Colonies and the Founding of Detroit,” in The Third Reign of Louis XIV, c. 1682-1715, ed. by Julia Prest and Guy Rowlands (London: Routledge, 2016), 82-99.

“Chronicles of a ‘New World’: Marc Lescarbot and the French Colonies” in Lendemains de guerre civile: reconciliation et reconstruction en France sous Henri IV, ed. Michel De Waele (Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2011).  Reprinted (Paris: Hermann, 2015).

"Patronage as Family Economy: The Role of Women in the Patron-Client Network of the Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain Family, 1670-1715," French Historical Studies 24 (2001): 11-35.

"Les parlements de province dans les clienteles a l' eopoque de Louis XIV" in Les Parlements de Province, eds. J. Thomas and J. Poumeride (Toulose: Privat, 1996), 621-632.

Department of History

Varner Hall, Room 415
371 Varner Dr.
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3510
fax: (248) 370-3528