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Katlyn Carter

Katlyn Carter is a Weiser Emerging Democracies Postdoctoral Fellow for 2017-19. She completed her Ph.D. in history at Princeton University in 2017. Her current research is on state secrecy and representative politics in the eighteenth-century Atlantic World. Katlyn’s dissertation explores how decisions and debates about the place of secrecy in politics during the Age of Revolutions shaped both the conceptual evolution and practical implementation of representative democracy. The project traces how revolutionaries in the United States and France navigated the tension between an Enlightenment imperative to eradicate secrets from the state and a practical need to limit the extent of transparency in government. Her research shows how decisions about what could be publicly visible in the political process determined the character and durability of representative regimes in these two countries. By considering the French and American Revolutions in tandem, the project deepens our understanding of representative government and provides a historical foundation for thinking about the place of state secrecy in modern democracies.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Katlyn will be working on a book manuscript about the relationship between state secrecy and the first representative democracies. She will also begin work on her next project, which will examine the problem of truth and trust at the founding of the American and French republics. The project will aim to provide historical context to the challenge of dealing with fake news and determining fact from fiction in a political system governed by public opinion and with a free press.

Prior to beginning her Ph.D. at Princeton, Katlyn received a B.A. with high honors in history from the University of California, Berkeley and worked as a media relations consultant in Washington, DC. She is originally from Portland, Oregon.


  • Ph.D., History, Princeton University, 2017
  • M.A., History, Princeton University, 2013
  • B.A., History, University of California, Berkeley, 2009

Awards and Honors

  • Pre-doctoral Fellow, American Philosophical Society (2016-17)
  • Laurance S. Rockefeller Graduate Prize Fellow in the Princeton University Center for Human Values (2015-16)
  • Fulbright Travel Fellowship (2015-16, declined)
  • Robert R. Palmer Research Travel Award, American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (2015)


Following her WCED Fellowship, Professor Carter accepted a position as visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame.