Jay M. Smith is a specialist of early-modern France, especially in the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Most of his work traces the negotiation of change over time, and he often uses the history of language to gain access to processes of change. Smith has written about the development of royal absolutism, the emergence of patriotic habits of thought under the old regime, the origins of the French Revolution, the history of the nobility, and the fascinating legend surrounding the beast of the Gévaudan. His most recent book, written with Mary Willingham, provides an exposé of the UNC athletic-academic scandal and an assessment of the educational culture fostered in big-time sport programs. He is now working on several projects including scandal in the 1780s and municipal politics in the wake of the L’Averdy reforms of the 1760s.