Richard C. Keller

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (2001-2002)


Professor, Department of Medical History & Bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Associate Dean, UW-Madison International Division


History of European and colonial medicine and public health, history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, history of the human sciences, science and race.


Richard Keller, Ph.D., is associate dean of the UW-Madison International Division and a professor in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics. He is also a research fellow at the Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les Enjeux Sociaux in Paris.

His most recent book, Fatal Isolation, (Chicago University Presss, 2015) looked at the effects of the Paris heat wave of 2003. He is also the author of Colonial Madness: Psychiatry in French North Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2007) and Enregistrer les morts, identifier les surmortalités: Une comparaison Angleterre, Etats-Unis et France(Presses de l’Ecole des hautes études en santé publique, 2010, with Carine Vassy and Robert Dingwall), and is co-editor of Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties (Duke University Press, 2011, with Warwick Anderson and Deborah Jenson). His articles have appeared in the Journal of Social History, the Bulletin of the History of MedicineHistorical Geography, and Mouvements, among other venues.

He is the recipient of the H.I. Romnes Award from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and is co-director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar in Biopolitics for 2011-2012. His current projects is a book that looks at the deadly European heat wave of 2003, with a specific focus on the social dimensions of the catastrophe in Paris. His work on the 2003 heat wave has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Mairie de Paris.

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  • Richard C. Keller, Fatal Isolation: The Devastating Paris Heat Wave of 2003 (University of Chicago Press, 2015).
  • Warwick Anderson, Deborah Jenson, Richard C. Keller, Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties(Duke University Press, 2011).
  • Richard C.Keller, Robert Dingwall, and Carine Vassy, eds., Enregistrer les morts, identifier les surmortalités Une comparaison Angleterre, États-Unis et France (Presses de l’EHESP, l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique, 2010).
  • Richard C. Keller, Colonial Madness: Psychiatry in French North Africa(University of Chicago Press, 2007).


  • Richard C. Keller, “Place Matters: Mortality, Space, and Urban Form in the 2003 Paris Heat Wave Disaster,” French Historical Studies 36:2 (2013), 299-330. Awarded the 2014 William Koren, Jr., Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies.
  • Vassy, Carine, and Richard Keller, “Faut-il contrôler les aspects éthiques de la recherche en sciences sociales et comment?,” Mouvements 55-56 (2008), 128-141.
  • Richard C. Keller, “Clinician and Revolutionary: Frantz Fanon, Biography, and the History of Colonial Medicine,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 81:4 (2007), 823-841.
  • Richard C. Keller, “Geographies of Power, Legacies of Mistrust: Colonial Medicine in the Global Present,” Historical Geography 34 (2006), 26-48.
  • Richard C. Keller, “Pinel in the Maghreb: Liberation, Confinement, and Psychiatric Reform in French North Africa,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 79:3 (2005), 459-99.

Ph.D., Rutgers University

  • Thesis: “Action Psychologique: French Psychiatry in Colonial North Africa, 1900-1962”
    (Winner, Forum for the History of the Human Sciences Biannual Dissertation Prize, 2002)

M.A., University of Colorado at Boulder

  • Thesis: “Forgetting Freud: Language, Psychoanalysis, and the Body in France, 1913-1932”

B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder