Photo of Rod Phillips

Rod Phillips

Professor - History of alcohol (especially wine), history of food, history of the family, 18th-century France, French Revolution

Degrees:Degrees: B.A. (Trent, Canada), M.A. (Otago, New Zealand), D.Phil. (Oxford, U.K.)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2824
Office:409 Paterson Hall

I’m a historian of early modern and modern Europe, with a special focus on eighteenth-century France and the French Revolution.  Thematically, my interests are alcohol, food, and the family.

I started as a historian of the family. My doctoral dissertation was on marriage and divorce during the French Revolution, and I later expanded my scope to the western world more broadly. I still work on the history of the family, and I am Editor of the Journal of Family History, the journal of record in the field. In the late 1990s, I turned to the history of wine (and alcohol more generally), and since then that has been the main focus of my research and publications.

Among my current projects is a book on wine during the French Revolution. It’s supported by an SSHRC Insight Grant (2021-25).  I am also preparing an updated edition of my history of divorce, Putting Asunder, which was first published in 1988.

In addition to writing on the history of alcohol, I write on wine for the wine media. I wrote a weekly wine column for the Ottawa Citizen for 15 years and I write the wine features for the print and on-line editions of NUVO Magazine (a luxury lifestyle quarterly) as well as for specialist media such The World of Fine Wine (UK) and (US). I am the Canada consultant to The World Atlas of Wine (UK), and I also judge in wine competitions in Canada, the US, Europe, and elsewhere.

Over the years, I have had research fellowships in Canada, the UK, France, Sweden, Australia, and the US.  I have given academic papers in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US, the UK, France, Sweden, Spain, Germany, China, and Taiwan.

I offer undergraduate courses on the history of alcohol, history of food, history of the family, the French Revolution, and everyday life in Early Modern Europe.  My recent and current graduate supervisions include research on the history of brewing in 17th-century England, micro-distilleries in 20th-century Canada, and aspects of the political culture of the French Revolution. I’m available to supervise research in the history of food and drink, eighteenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the history of the family.



Articles, chapters, entries

I have published many articles and book chapters on marriage and divorce and on wine and alcohol. My articles have appeared in journals such as Social HistoryJournal of Social HistoryFrench Historical StudiesAnnales ESC, and Annales de Démographie Historique.  I have contributed many entries to volumes such as Oxford Bibliographies On-lineEncyclopedia of Alcohol and TemperanceEncyclopedia of Food and Culture, and Encyclopedia of Early Modern Europe.

I have also written the texts for three TED-Ed animated shorts, including this one on Prohibition:

Books published

Family Breakdown in Late-Eighteenth-Century France: Divorces in Rouen, 1792-1803 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980)

Divorce in New Zealand (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1981) 

Putting Asunder: A History of Divorce in Western Society (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988) 

Untying the Knot: Divorce in Western Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991; 6 foreign-language editions) 

Society, State, and Nation in Twentieth-Century Europe (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1995) 

A Short History of Wine (London: Penguin Books, 2000; New York: HarperCollins, 2001; 5 foreign-language editions) 

Ontario Wine Country (Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 2006) 

Alcohol: A History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014; paperback, 2019; Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2015; 4 other foreign-language and international editions) 

French Wine: A History (Sacramento: University of California Press, 2016; paperback, 2020) 

9000 Years of Wine: A World History (Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 2017) 

The Wines of Canada (Oxford, UK: Infinite Ideas “Classic Wine Library,” 2017) 

Wine: A Social and Cultural History of the Drink that Changed our Lives (Oxford, UK: Infinite Ideas, 2018) 

Publications forthcoming and in preparation

(with Jean Bart) Un curé dans les vignes. François Delachère et les vins de Volnay au XVIIIe siècle (Dijon: Éditions Universitaires de Dijon, forthcoming 2023)

(Editor) Food in Early Modern Europe (London: Routledge, under contract for publication in 2024) 

A New History of Divorce (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, under contract for delivery in 2024). A revised and updated edition of Putting Asunder.