Tuning Participant


New College of Florida

Carrie E. Beneš is associate professor of medieval and Renaissance history at New College of Florida (the state honors college, a liberal arts residential campus of 800 students in Sarasota, FL). A cultural historian specializing in late medieval Italy, she received her AB magna cum laude from Harvard and her PhD from UCLA in 2004. Her main research interests involve intellectual networks and the use of history as a means to identity, that is, how people throughout history have used and manipulated the past to suit their own ends. Her first book, Urban Legends: Civic Identity & the Classical Past in Northern Italy, 1250–1350 (Penn State Press, 2011) explored the use of the classical Roman past as political propaganda in medieval Italian city-states. Her current project, for which she received the Rome Prize in 2008–09, explores the changing role of the classical abbreviation SPQR in the politics and ideology of medieval and Renaissance Italy. Other academic interests include urban history, Italian humanism and the Renaissance, book history (palaeography, codicology, illumination, and the history of libraries), and the plague. Her courses encompass these subjects as well as general surveys of the medieval, Renaissance, and early modern periods; recent offerings include classes on the Normans in Europe, medieval urbanism, the Black Death, and St. Francis of Assisi. Her interest in the AHA Tuning Project comes first from her ongoing involvement in redesigning the New College undergraduate history program, and more generally from her employment at an honors liberal arts college that continually confronts the question of what students will actually do with its degrees.