Professor Van Damme’s research examines the origins of early modern scientific knowledge and European Culture between 1650 and 1850 by looking at essential elements overlooked by historians of science such as scientific centres (Paris, London, Edinburgh), founding fathers (Descartes), paradigmatic disciplines (philosophy, natural history, antiquarianism), imperial projects. In his lastest two books, Stéphane Van Damme addressed gender issues. In Métropoles de papier (2012), by paying attention to the birth of urban archaeology, he put the origins and foundations of urban studies into perspective, highlighting the difficult “disciplinisation” of a set of hybrid research fields, and exploring the ambivalent relationship between urban knowledge and public policy and the role this plays in the affiliation and mobilisation of social actors around urban issues, especially women. More recently, in A toutes voiles vers la vérité (2014), he worked on a pragmatic study of early modern philosophers at work in France and in Scotland, including gender production of knowledge.
- A toutes voiles vers la vérité. Une autre histoire de la philosophie au temps des Lumières, Paris, Le Seuil, 2014, 400 pages.
- « Philosophe, philosopher », in Daniel Brewer (éd.), Cambridge Companion to the French Enlightenment, Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 153-166.
- Métropoles de papier. Naissance de l’archéologie urbaine à Paris et à Londres (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2012).
- “Philosophical Passion as Passion for Equality in the Age of Enlightenment”, Lettre Arts et Société, 2011.