Michael I. Allen
Professor of Classics, History
I am currently studying the writings, library, and circle of Lupus of Ferrières. A selection of ca. 130 documents survives in an original manuscript (Paris, lat. 2858) compiled from Lupus’s archives shortly after his death (after June 862). The letters are a key source for the history of books, libraries, and the movement of scholars and learning in the ninth century. We can tell a great deal about Lupus and his activities. He was, for instance, a key vector in the transmission of Cicero’s works. I am finishing a fresh edition, commentary, and translation of Lupus’s letters and related documents, where I relate the letters to events, recovered persons, and extant manuscripts or indirect evidence of them.
Lupus’s letter-book in facsimile: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10318625w
Professor of Art History
Situated primarily in Italy, Atkinson’s current scholarship considers the social dimensions of architecture through a series of research themes derived from his interest in the historical understanding of urban experience.
- urban soundscapes: the aural dimensions of the early modern city
- the city at night
- the urban sensorium: phenomenology, architecture, and the senses
- urban itineraries: navigating and negotiating urban space
- urban signs: the visual semiotics of the pre-modern city
- the piazza and the body public (in collaboration with the Forchungsgruppe “Piazza e monumento,” Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max Planck Institut)
- storytelling and the art of city-building
Professor of English and Comp Lit
It is my pleasure and my honor to teach drama at the University of Chicago, focusing on Shakespeare and his contemporaries (Jonson, Marlowe, Webster, Middleton, Dekker, etc.), as well as medieval drama and then the entire sweep of Western drama from Aeschylus and Sophocles down to Caryl Churchill and Tom Stoppard. In addition to courses on Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, and medieval drama, I co-teach in Theater and Performance Studies ((variously with Heidi Coleman, Director of University Theater, John Muse, English Department, and Drew Dir, resident dramaturg at Court Theatre) a two-quarter sequence called The History and Theory of Drama from the 5th century B.C. down to the present day. I am Chair of Theater and Performance Studies. My critical writing and scholarship reflect to a large degree these same passionate interests. I am a senior editor of the Revels Plays, which publishes critical editions of plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and I am senior editor of a series of paperbacks called Revels Student Editions. Until recently and for many years I taught in a core humanities course at the University of Chicago on Greek Thought and Literature, from Homer and Herodotus down to Aristophanes and Plato. Here, and in a course on the Renaissance that I love to teach as well, I get a chance to teach nondramatic poetry and prose! I also teach in the Master of Liberal Arts program at the Gleacher Center of the University of Chicago in downtown Chicago.
Professor of Art History
Frederick de Armas
Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities, Spanish Literature, and Comparative Literature; Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Studies Graduate Adviser
Frederick A. de Armas is a literary scholar, critic and novelist whose scholarly work focuses on the literature of Renaissance and Early Modern Spain (Cervantes, Calderón, Claramonte, Lope de Vega), often from a comparative perspective. His interests include the politics of astrology; magic and the Hermetic tradition; ekphrasis; the relations between the verbal and the visual particularly between Spanish literature and Italian art; and the interconnections between myth and empire during the rule of the Habsburgs. His publications include: Quixotic Frescoes: Cervantes and Italian Renaissance Art andDon Quixote Among the Saracens: A Clash of Civilizations and Literary Genres. He is currently working on spaces, places and architectures in Cervantes. More information.
Professor of Romance Languages
Professor of Music
Martha Feldman is a cultural historian of European vernacular musics, ca. 1500-1950, with a concentration on Italy. Her projects have explored the senses and sensibilities of listeners, the interplay of myth, festivity, and kingship in opera, issues of cinema, media, and voice, and various incarnations of the musical artist. Running throughout her work are questions about mediations between social, political, and artistic phenomena. Her first monograph, City Culture and the Madrigal at Venice (University of California Press, 1995; winner of the Bainton Prize of the Sixteenth-Century Society and Conference in conjunction with the Centre for Reformation Studies), dealt with madrigals within the civic culture of Renaissance Venice. Her Renaissance interests have extended to the music of courtesans, with results published in conjunction with an international team of scholars together with her graduate students in The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (co-edited, Oxford, 2006; winner of the 2007 Ruth A. Solie Award of the American Musicological Society). In 2007, she published a book on 18th-century opera seria as a manifestation and refraction of changing notions of sovereignty and festivity during the later eighteenth century. That work, Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy, won the Gordon J. Laing Award of the University of Chicago Press (2010) for the faculty book “published in the previous three years that brings the Press the greatest distinction.”
Professor of Art History
Professor of English
I am interested in the relationship between language, history, and lived experience. My research and teaching focus on how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature intersects with practices of knowledge production ranging from the sciences to theology. Combining a historical focus on early modernity with the study of phenomenological philosophy, my work probes a range of verbal techniques for articulating (and perhaps inventing) modes of experience that resist comprehension.
Professor of Italian Literature and the Committee on the History of Culture; Italian Graduate Adviser
Professor Maggi’s scholarship focuses on two major areas: early modern culture (Renaissance philosophy, magic and demonology, Neoplatonic love treatises, women writers, religious literature, Renaissance emblems, baroque culture) and contemporary culture. He is currently working on Renaissance epic poetry and Marino's L'Adone. His latest essay is on Giambattista Della Porta's view of magic and demonology. He is the author of many books. His latest work is the volume titled Preserving the Spell (2015, University of Chicago Press; Premio Flaiano Italianistica 2016) on the Western interpretation of folk and fairy tales from Giambattista Basile’s Lo cunto de li cunti to the French late seventeenth-century tradition, German Romanticism, and American post-modernism. More information.
Professor of Romance Languages
My research and teaching focus on the cultural and literary histories of early modern Iberia and colonial Latin America. I am generally interested in the ways in which some early modern historical processes such as the printing and military revolutions, or the first globalization, contributed to a partial democratization of literary practices. In this sense, I have taught and published on topics such as war writing, book history, travel literature, autobiography, and popular culture. Secondly, my work is concerned with the role that literary practices and institutions have played historically in the configuration of Iberia (and its worlds) as a space of remarkable linguistic, cultural, and political complexity. In this regard, I have published on topics such as linguistic history, translation, Luso-Hispanic relations, and cultural competition.
Professor of English
I work and write in two overlapping fields: early modern English drama and public culture (including sermons, royal entries, ballads, mayoral pageants, beast baitings, polemics, satires and feuds) and Western theatre and performance, from the Greeks to the present. My approach to the Shakespearean stage is driven by the epistemological problems that the theatre poses to a culture eager to draw a clear line between artifice and authenticity. I tend to focus on phenomena that don’t sit easily within the counterfeit world of a play, such as onstage animals, gunfire, nudity, stuttering, and pyrotechnics. In my first book, Persecution, Plague and Fire, I argue that the disasters let loose from the realm of theatrical action (most famously the fire that consumed the Globe in 1613) are illustrations of an early modern philosophy of the stage that anticipates a key tenet of performance studies: that performance “becomes itself through disappearance” (Peggy Phelan, Unmarked). Rather more daunting is the correlative proposition, well evidenced in the perplexed discourse of 16th century theatre history, that performance disappears the epochs in which it triumphs.
Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Daniel’s interests extend broadly across the history of philosophy. He specializes in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European philosophy, particularly the philosophy of Benedict Spinoza. Daniel’s research on Spinoza is driven by an attempt to understand how much of Spinoza’s Ethics is an expression of adequate knowledge by Spinoza’s own lights. In a number of papers and a larger, developing book-length project, he argues that surprisingly little of the Ethics expresses adequate knowledge. Daniel also has research interests in ancient Greek philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and early analytic philosophy.
Visiting Professor of Social Thought and of Classics
At Chicago Glenn Most has taught courses on Classical texts (mostly Greek poetical and philosophical ones), on such post-Classical authors as Dante, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Nietzsche, Proust, and Walter Benjamin, and on the methods of Classics and of Comparative Literature. He has published books on Classics, on the history and methodology of Classical studies, on the Classical tradition and Comparative Literature, on literary theory, and on the history of art, and has published numerous articles, reviews, and translations in these fields and also on modern philosophy and literature.Recently he has published a thorough revision of the Grene and Lattimore translations of Greek tragedy and a nine-volume Greek and English Loeb edition of the Presocratics. His current projects include a bilingual edition of the complete corpus of ancient and medieval scholia and commentaries to Hesiod’s Theogony and several collaborative studies of philological procedures in various Classical Traditions, including Chinese, Indian, Hebrew, Arabic, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, and Latin. More information.
Professor of Classics and Social Thought
Don M. Randel
Professor Emeritus of Music
Don Michael Randel is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Chicago, a prominent American musicologist, and the fifth, now retired, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He has previously served as the twelfth president of the University of Chicago and during that time as faculty member in the Department of Music. While on the faculty at Cornell University, he chaired the Department of Music there, and served as Provost and as Dean of Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences. More information.
Professor of Romance Languages; Italian; TAPS
Rocco Rubini joined the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago upon completing his Ph.D in Comparative Literature and Renaissance studies at Yale University in 2009. His studies and early career were supported by a Baden-Württemberg Exchange Scholarship (2005-2006) and a Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities (2008-2009), both resulting in year-long stays in Germany, and, at the University of Chicago, a Franke Institute for the Humanities Fellowship (2011-2012) that allowed him to complete his first book, The Other Renaissance: Italian Humanism between Hegel and Heidegger (Chicago, 2014). This study is an intellectual history that seeks to re-evaluate the received narrative regarding the making of so-called Continental philosophy and its transformation into “theory” between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It explores modern Italian philosophy (1801-1947) through the lens of Renaissance scholarship and argues for a strong intellectual connection and solidarity between Italian Renaissance humanists and Italian nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinkers. In doing so it complicates our relationship to the origins of modernity and reveals the Italian intellectual tradition as a useful supplement to our modern and postmodern consciousness.
Professor of Romance Languages, Italian
Professor Steinberg joined the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures faculty in 2003. His scholarship focuses on medieval Italian literature, especially on Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, and the early lyric. Related interests include manuscript culture/material philology, reception studies, the connections between legal and literary culture, and medieval political theory.
Professor of English
My passion is to bring together two modes of literary study that have, traditionally but needlessly, been seen as antagonistic: formalism and historicism. I am deeply interested in the intellectual history of the early modern period, especially theological and political ideas. I am interested in the ideas themselves but even more in the ways in which they find their way into English and American literature in the period. My book on George Herbert attempts to demonstrate how deeply the central ideas of Reformation theology are at work in the intricate tonal and structural details of the lyrics. My next book, Resistant Structures, brings together methodological and historical concerns. It critiques and tries to work free of various critical and historical schemes and presuppositions; it refuses to idealize “devout humanism” and it refuses to see the thought-world of early modern England as fundamentally conservative and deferential to authority. I demonstrate the presence of resistance to authority in works by Donne (Satire 3), Shakespeare (King Lear), and, in the Restoration period, Nahum Tate (in his adaptation of Lear). My new book, The Unrepentant Renaissance from Petrarch to Shakespeare to Milton, continues the endeavors of historical and intellectual revision, including chapters on text from the whole Renaissance period that praise such things as passion, impatience, worldliness, and pride. My teaching, especially at the graduate level, has followed the whole range of my interests (see below). I have directed dissertations on topics ranging from villain heroes to representations of taverns to the poetics of inarticulateness in Herbert and Dickinson.
Elissa B. Weaver
Professor Emerita of Italian Literature
Professor Weaver is a scholar of early modern Italian literature and language. She is the author of articles on the Italian epic-chivalric tradition (on Boiardo, Berni, and Ariosto), on Boccaccio’s Decameron, and on the writing of women, especially convent women. She has published a monograph on a women’s literary tradition, Convent Theatre in Early Modern Italy: Spiritual Fun and Learning for Women (2002), a study of the life and religious plays of Antonia Tanini Pulci, Saints’ Lives and Bible Stories for the Stage (2010), and critical editions of Beatrice del Sera’s spiritual comedy, Amor di virtú (1990), and of the seventeenth-century debate between Francesco Buoninsegni and Arcangela Tarabotti, Satira Antisatira (1998); she has edited two collections of essays: The Decameron First Day in Perspective (2004) and Arcangela Tarabotti, a Literary Nun in Baroque Venice (2006); and co-edited with Joshua Scodel a festschrift, Selva Filologica: Essays in Honor of Paolo Cherchi (2003). Professor Weaver was a curator and co-edited with Elizabeth Rodini the catalogue of the Smart Museum exhibit, A Well-Fashioned Image: Clothing and Costume in European Art, 1500-1850 (2002), and is co-editor with Catherine Mardikes of the Italian Women Writers database.
Awards, Honors, and Professional Experience
Chair, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, 1994-2000; Acting Chair, spring 1991, winter 1993 and 2005
Mellon Emeritus Fellowship, 2010-2012
Newberry Library/NEH Fellowship, 1993-1994
Harvard Villa I Tatti Fellowship/NEH, 1988-1989
Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award for Graduate Teaching, University of Chicago, 1988
AAUW Faculty Fellowship, 1983-1984
Fulbright Summer Fellowship, University of Rome 1971
Fulbright Teaching-Study Fellowship, Univ. of Florence 1965-1966
Phi Beta Kappa
Selected Courses Taught
Letteratura femminile in Italia dal Trecento al Seicento
Early Modern Women Writers, Europe and New Spain
Rappresentazioni di alterità nel Rinascimento italiano
Introduction to the Italian Language Through Dante
Il romanzo epico–cavalleresco (alternately on the poems of Pulci, Boiardo, and Ariosto)
Boccaccio e la novellistica
Teatro del Rinascimento
Renaissance Painting and Sculpture
Professor of History; NELC
Professor Fleischer focuses primarily on Ottoman history, specializing in the Age of Suleyman. Currently he is working on a major work on Suleyman the Lawgiver as well as a number of papers dealing with the time period. In addition, he has begun work on Apocalypticism and its relationship to his field of study. Professor Fleischer also sits on the editorial board of a number of publications, including the Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History and the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.
Professor of History; CHSS
As well as being a professor in the Department of History, Adrian Johns chairs the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science. He is the author of Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age (Norton, 2010), Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates (Chicago, 2009), and The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Chicago, 1998), as well as dozens of papers in the histories of science, the book, media, and information. The Nature of the Book won the Leo Gershoy Award of the American Historical Association, the John Ben Snow Prize of the North American Conference on British Studies, the Louis Gottschalk Prize of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the SHARP Prize for the best work on the history of authorship, reading, and publishing. Piracy won the Laing Prize and was selected as Book of the Year by the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Johns has been awarded Guggenheim and ACLS fellowships. Educated in Britain at the University of Cambridge, he has also taught at the University of Kent at Canterbury, the University of California, San Diego, and the California Institute of Technology.
John P McCormick
Professor of Political Science
Professor of History; Social Thought; Middle Eastern Studies; Medieval Studies
Professor of Political Science
John F. Padgett (Ph.D., Michigan, 1978) is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Currently he conducts research in the related areas of organizational invention and of state and market co-evolution, mostly in the context of Renaissance Florence but also through agent-based modeling. In the past, Padgett has published in the topics of organization theory, social network analysis, federal budgeting, plea bargaining, and stochastic processes. A short biography of John Padgett is available in The Bulletin of the Santa Fe Institute. More information.
Assistant Professor of History; Gender Center; SIFK
Ada Palmer's research on intellectual history, or the history of ideas, explores how history and thought shape each other over time. The Italian Renaissance is a perfect moment for approaching this question because at that point the ideas about science, religion, and the world that had developed in the Middle Ages suddenly met those of the ancient world, reconstructed from rediscovered sources. All at once many beliefs, scientific systems, and perceived worlds clashed, mixed, and produced an unprecedented range of new ideas, which in turn shaped the following centuries and, thereby, our current world. More information.
Professor of Social Thought; Political Science
Professor Nathan Tarcov’s scholarly interests include history of political theory, education and family in political theory, and principles of U.S. foreign policy. Aside from the books listed below, he has published numerous pieces on Machiavelli, Locke, the American Founding, Leo Strauss, and topics such as democracy, constitutionalism, and revolution.
Smart Museum of Art
Postdoctoral Fellow, Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge
Stuart M. McManus (Ph.D. Harvard) is a scholar of pre-modern global empires with a particular focus on Latin America (Mexico and Peru) and Iberian Asia (Portuguese India and the Spanish Philippines). His first book project, “Empire of Eloquence: Humanism and Iberian Global Expansion,” argues that the classical rhetorical tradition was a key technology of empire and evangelization in the early modern Americas and Asia that can be only understood fully by taking a global perspective. At Chicago, he teaches courses on Mexico, globalization and the early modern Iberian world.
Empire is arguably the oldest, most durable and most diffused form of governance in human history that reached its zenith with the global empires of Spain, Portugal and Britain. But how do you build a global empire? What political, social, economic and cultural factors contribute to their formation and longevity? What effect do they have on the colonizer and the colonized? What is the difference between a state, an empire and a “global” empire? We will consider these questions and more in case studies that will treat the global empires of Rome, Portugal and Britain, concluding with a discussion of the modern resonances of this first “Age of Empires.” The course will include classes taught in the Regenstein Rare Books Collection and the Smart Museum.
Rare book curator
Society of Fellows