Gary Kates

Gary R. Kates (born November 9, 1952) is an American historian who specializes in the European Enlightenment and the French Revolution. He is the H. Russell Smith Foundation Professor of History at Pomona College.[1] He previously served as the dean of the college from 2001 to 2009.[2]

Early life and educationEdit

Kates grew up in Los Angeles.[3] In high school, he says he was social and musical but not particularly into academics.[3] He enrolled at Pitzer College in 1970 as part of the college's first class to include men.[4] He initially intended to become a rabbi or a lawyer, but was influenced by professors to pursue history.[3] His interest in academic administration was sparked by a first-year seminar on the politics of the college he took, taught by then-president Bob Atwell.[3] After he graduated in 1974, he began postgraduate studies at the University of Chicago, and received his doctorate in history in 1978.[1]


In 1980,[5] Kates became a professor of history at Trinity University in Texas,[6] where he taught for 20 years.[3] He published a book on the Chevalier d'Éon, an 18th-century French diplomat who grew up as a man but subsequently lived as a woman,[7][6][8] and became Trinity's interim dean of arts and humanities.[9]

In 2001, he came to Pomona College, a neighbor of Pitzer and fellow member of the Claremont Colleges, to serve as dean of the college.[4] During his tenure, he focused on improving the relationship between the consortium's members and on growing Pomona's tenured faculty, adding more than 25 tenure track lines.[3] He taught one course per semester, an atypical practice for the position.[3]

When he stepped down as dean in 2009, headhunters approached him seeking to make him a college president, but he turned them down, preferring to return to teaching history at Pomona full-time.[3] He regularly teaches a first-year critical inquiry seminar on the European Enlightenment.[10] He asks students in his courses to use his first name.[11][better source needed]


In 1999, Kates received the American Historical Association's Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award.[12]


  • The Cercle Social, the Girondins, and the French Revolution. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1985. ISBN 9781400854974.
  • The French Revolution: Recent Debates and New Controversies. New York: Routledge. 1998. ISBN 9780415358330.
  • Monsieur d'Eon Is a Woman: A Tale of Political Intrigue and Sexual Masquerade. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. September 21, 2001. ISBN 9780801867316.


  1. ^ a b "Gary Kates". Pomona College. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  2. ^ Frankel, Julia; Hoving, Becky (May 3, 2019). "Eight high-level admins leave Pomona under Starr". The Student Life. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "What's Next for Dean Kates?" (PDF). Pomona College Magazine (Spring 2009). Pomona College. p. 14. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Zukin, Meg (February 21, 2015). "The Claremont Comeback: 5C Alumni Return to Teach". The Student Life. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  5. ^ Doherty, Aidan (April 13, 2001). "Gary Kates Named New Dean of College". The Student Life. Archived from the original on August 29, 2008. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Bernstein, Richard (July 31, 1995). "Books of the Times; Enigma of a Nobleman, Pretender to Femininity". The New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  7. ^ Darnton, Robert (August 10, 1995). "Cherchez la Femme". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  8. ^ Spatt, Mindy (November 12, 1995). "A Cross-Dressing Spy in the Court of Louis XV". San Francisco Examiner. pp. 221, 225. Retrieved January 23, 2021 – via
  9. ^ "2001". Pomona College Timeline. Pomona College. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  10. ^ "ID 001 PO (UG19) 10 - The European Enlightenment". Pomona College. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  11. ^ "Gary Kates at Pomona College". Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  12. ^ "Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award Recipients". American Historical Association. Retrieved January 23, 2021.

External linksEdit