AHA Past President


Northwestern University

From the 2023 Presidential Biography booklet

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By Monique O’Connell, Wake Forest University; Brian Maxson, East Tennessee State University; and Sarah G. Ross, Boston College

Edward Wallace Muir Jr. is the Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University and a leading scholar of Italian social and cultural history in the early modern period. With the presidency of the American Historical Association, Ed has accomplished a sort of triple crown of society leadership for an early modern Europeanist, as he has also served as president and vice president of the Renaissance Society of America (2012–14) and of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (2003–04). His tireless service to the historical discipline and his intellectual influence on Renaissance studies has been recognized with a conference and related 2016 festschrift volume, in which the editors, Mark Jurdjevic and Rolf Strom-Olsen, included a detailed biography in the introduction as well as a full bibliography of Muir’s works. The prospect of offering another intellectual biography of such a well-documented and accomplished individual is daunting but at the same time a pleasure. We make no claim to comprehensiveness here; our aim instead will be to emphasize Muir’s remarkable scope and inclusivity as a scholar, teacher, and member of the historical republic of letters.

At least since the era of Herodotus, one of the ideals animating the historical craft has been to make specialist knowledge available to and interesting for nonspecialists. From the beginning of his career, Muir’s scholarship embodied this deceptively challenging ideal. Although he completed his graduate studies in the mid-1970s, when the discipline of history increasingly affiliated with the social sciences and long-term forces of hyperspecialization continued apace, he nonetheless stood firm as a cultural historian analyzing minutely while at the same time thinking big, crafting theoretically engaged and broadly relevant narratives. Muir sometimes works explicitly as a microhistorian, but even his macrohistories grow from forensic reading of small details and empathetic listening to often muted and marginal voices. However seemingly arcane the source material or parochial the events with which he begins, Muir will ultimately tell an involving, diachronically significant, and just plain relatable story.

In a body of work that now encompasses four monographs, four co- edited volumes, over 40 articles and book chapters, and a blockbuster textbook—with shorter pieces and review essays numbering roughly as the stars—there are few subjects in early modern Italy that do not get attention somewhere in his remarkable oeuvre. Venice and its mainland territories coalesce as one focal point of Muir’s research. Yet Venice as a place ultimately matters less than the Venetian world as fertile ground for the study of ritual, his real intellectual quarry. To the vast and polyvalent topic of ritual Muir brings a distinctive set of questions about the ways that communities form, cohere, and fracture, and the ways in which diverse participants come to understand and present themselves as communities through rituals—whether those be stately civic processions steeped in centuries of tradition, moments of seemingly sudden and senseless cruelty exploding amidst a festive season, or the emergence of a new cultural practice of going masked to a theater in order to hear women of dubious reputation singing about love. Muir writes a type of cultural history that interweaves anthropological and philosophical modes of analysis and embraces risky interpretive frameworks. Clifford Geertz, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Johan Huizinga stand among the many theorists who have contributed significant elements to his approach. An admirer of Natalie Zemon Davis, he has cultivated a similarly keen ear for hearing the complex sociopolitical scripts informing what might otherwise seem to be moments of “mere” play or mass hysteria.

From the earliest years of his career, Muir has also crafted his work in open and generous conversation with the ideas of others. Some of the specifics of this ongoing dialogue can be traced thanks to a series of fortuitous events. In the spring of 2008, Muir temporarily relocated his Northwestern office during a building renovation. He took the opportunity to clean out space on his bookshelves, giving decades of paper copies of several academic journals, including the American Historical Review (AHR), Renaissance Quarterly, the Sixteenth-Century Studies Journal, and others stretching back into the 1960s to Brian Maxson (PhD, Northwestern 2008). Maxson was then finishing his doctorate and preparing to move from Chicago to east Tennessee, where the issues have remained ever since. Muir’s copies of the AHR into the mid-2000s provide a particularly illuminating window into his development and breadth as an historian and a mentor.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Muir’s AHR copies reveal a fascination with all things ritual, with republicanism, and with Venice. Venice and the Fourth Crusade, for example, frequently attracted Muir’s attention, to judge by his meticulous readings of articles like “Some Arguments in Defense of the Venetians on the Fourth Crusade” by Donald E. Queller and Gerald W. Day (AHR 81, no. 4, October 1976). Some years earlier, Muir actively and energetically engaged with the arguments by Frederic Lane about the form of republicanism in late medieval and Renaissance Venice (“At the Roots of Republicanism,” AHR 71, no. 2, January 1966). In the April 1981 issue, Muir bent the corner back on Harvard University Press’s advertisement and placed a checkmark next to the listing for Peter Shaw’s American Patriots and the Rituals of Revolution.

This wide reading culminated in Muir’s first monograph, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Princeton Univ. Press, 1981), which drew from a labyrinthine treasury of primary sources—archival and printed, visual and narrative—to recover how the famous “myth of Venice” came into being through collective ritual performance. A monumental achievement for a scholar at any stage of their career, let alone for a recent graduate, Civic Ritual received the AHA’s Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, awarded to the best book in European history published in English, as well as the American Catholic Historical Association’s Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History. Even more remarkable for a first book, within two years of its first printing Civic Ritual appeared in an Italian translation. At the time of this writing, this study is now being translated into Chinese, and Google Scholar statistics show it having received more than 1,100 citations!

During the 1980s, Muir’s journals reveal a shift toward questions about violence and vendetta, alongside a fascination about the idea of Western civilization and the historian’s omnipresent big-picture question of periodization. For example, Ed marked up Kenneth S. Greenberg’s “The Nose, the Lie, and the Duel in the Antebellum South” (AHR 95, no. 1, February 1990) as he thought about similar sorts of conflicts in the early modern Veneto. As he prepared for what became his own important AHR article on the peculiar popularity of the “Italian Renaissance” in the United States, Muir’s marginalia reveal a keen interest in the global turn, particularly in the AHR Forum on “Cross-Cultural Interaction and Periodization in World History” by Jerry H. Bentley (AHR 101, no. 3, June 1996).

From readings like these, a book wholly different from his first emerged in terms of its structure and approach. Muir’s expressly microhistorical Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta and Factions in Friuli during the Renaissance (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1993) has received similar accolades and proved widely influential. In analyzing what might seem to have been yet another premodern revenge-motivated bloodbath, Muir reads within its broader political and cultural contexts to illuminate a fraught moment of transition in European history from personal to institutional justice that produced convulsions of confusion, scrambled patronage relationships, and a free-wheeling rage that impacted every level of society. Mad Blood Stirring received the AHA’s Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian history in 1993 and struck the publishers as potentially interesting to that often sought, but less often found, audience of educated nonspecialist readers. Accordingly, in 1998 Mad Blood Stirring appeared in a reader’s edition substantially the same as the original in its core content, only shorn of its numerous footnotes and longer historiographical discussions.

In Culture Wars of the Late Renaissance: Skeptics, Libertines, and Opera (Harvard Univ. Press, 2007), which began life as the Bernard Berenson Lectures given at Villa I Tatti, Harvard University’s Center for Renaissance Studies in Florence, Muir traces the roots of 17th-century opera back to the libertine philosophy of figures such as Cesare Cremonini and to Galileian science. At the same time, his third monograph gives readers food for thought about the creative interplay of constraint and opportunity in any era and raises fundamental questions about just how “free-thinking” the libertines of Seicento academies really were (or any academies really are), particularly with respect to gender dynamics. Culture Wars, too, inspired an almost instantaneous Italian translation and has proved immensely popular.

Of Muir’s dozens of articles and book chapters, one seems especially germane to recall here, insofar as it underscores the breadth of subject matter Muir has engaged within this larger interpretive problem of ritual. “The Virgin on the Street Corner: The Place of the Sacred in Italian Cities,” which first appeared in 1989 in the edited volume Religion and Culture in the Renaissance and Reformation (Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers), gave sustained scrutiny to the ubiquitous image of the Virgin Mary on the streets of every Italian city. Muir, in his characteristic fashion, took a type of object that had been seen an infinite number of times and made it into an evidentiary window into a vast landscape of meaning, drawing from it insights about the critical importance of ritual as a process shaped by specific contexts. If the street-corner madonnas watching over a “theatrical state” such as Venice seem to have encouraged performances of civic compliance and piety, as we might expect, in places such as Naples they instead seem to have been lightning rods for local pride and rebellious action. “The Virgin on the Street Corner” won the Harold J. Grimm Prize, awarded annually by the Sixteenth Century Society for the best article published in English, with particular reference to the society’s commitment to the study of religion during the European Reformations. This essay has subsequently been reprinted several times in volumes offering readers collections of influential articles in our field.

In short, many will find something of interest in Muir’s oeuvre, from those interested in humanist civic rhetoric of the 14th century to opera fans curious about the multiple lineages giving rise to this art form in the 17th century. And even if Muir has never claimed to be a historian of women or gender per se, and even if his writing seldom pauses for theoretical excurses on these topics, his work nonetheless attends in sophisticated ways both to the roles women play in rites of belonging (and not belonging) and to the dynamics of gender in shaping cultural performances at large—particularly the double-binds of masculinity that take center stage in a book like Mad Blood Stirring and thread through the worlds of skepticism, science, the academy, and the opera house mapped in Culture Wars.

Indeed, Muir’s journals reveal an intense interest in topics seemingly unrelated to his projects, a voracious curiosity producing a concomitantly sweeping bibliographical command frequently commented upon by his students. As Maxson remarks, “Ed always seemed to have a reference and/or a comparative example to draw out my project into a broader historiographical conversation.” Muir’s marginalia reflect that range, with AHR articles annotated on worlds away from the Italian Renaissance or premodern Europe, an ever-eager pen underlining, noting key pieces of evidence, and identifying the most significant points. For example, questions of educational and administrative changes as well as geographical diversity drove Muir’s engagement with Marc Raeff’s “The Well-Ordered Police State and the Development of Modernity in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Europe” (AHR 80, no. 5, December 1975). A fascination with ranges of experience also shaped his close reading of “What Ought to Be and What Was: Women’s Sexuality in the Nineteenth Century” by Carl N. Degler (AHR 79, no. 5, December 1974). Muir’s continual fascination with the interplay between politics and works of cultural production shines through his notes on Jane de Hart Mathews’s “Art and Politics in Cold War America” (AHR 81, no. 4, October 1976). Questions of methodology and historiography peek out through his interactions with Samuel Kinser’s “Annaliste Paradigm? The Geohistorical Structuralism of Fernand Braudel” (AHR 86, no. 1, February 1981). Similar sorts of concerns appear in his reading of Kate Brown’s broad comparative study, “Gridded Lives: Why Kazakhstan and Montana Are Nearly the Same Place” (AHR 106, no. 1, February 2001).

Given the powerful narratives, the riveting (sometimes horrifying) protagonists, and provocative questions central to Muir’s scholarship, it seems natural that he has proved highly successful as an author of surveys and textbooks as well. Cambridge University Press commissioned Muir to write what became Ritual in Early Modern Europe, part of the press’s justly celebrated New Approaches to European History series; the volume is now in its second edition and appears in several languages. His co- authored textbook for Pearson, The West: Encounters and Transformations, offers a lively and pithy survey of European history in a global framework that runs, in its full form, from antiquity to approximately yesterday, while other editions offer different portions of this chronology to suit different courses’ needs. In its various manifestations, this textbook has gone through five editions, with a sixth on the way.

In addition to his exemplary research and publication record, Muir is one of those historians whose generosity of spirit seems to know no bounds, nor does his genuine interest in other scholars’ work. He is also an ideal collaborator, some evidence of which we find in the three important volumes of essays he and Guido Ruggiero have brought us: Sex and Gender in Historical Perspective (1990); Microhistory and the Lost Peoples of Europe (1991); and History from Crime (1994), all published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Given all this, it makes sense that he would have received over 20 of the most prestigious fellowships and research appointments, including support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Academy in Rome, the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, and the Newberry Library, as well as election to some of our field’s most exclusive sodalities: the Academia Europea, to which he was elected in 2011, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which he joined in 2014.

Muir’s fusion of depth and breadth has brought students with a bewildering array of interests to seek his guidance as they pursue their own questions. As one example, Sarah Ross (PhD, Northwestern 2006) chose to work with Ed as a doctoral student in part (in her words) “because I was a super-fan of Mad Blood Stirring, albeit one interested in studying women writers, not Friulian brawlers.” Nearly 20 years on from her doctoral studies, she admits she still could not be further away from writing in Muirean way: “I keep trying to write an elegant microhistory, but end up getting interested in so many different issues at once that I never manage the unicity that characterizes Ed’s books and articles.” Similar stories can and have been told by other students, who found in Muir an ideal advisor even if their particular subject matter or approach lay well outside his own areas of focus.

While one could certainly say much more about Muir’s distinguished record of publication and impact on the field, his intellectual biography would not be complete without emphasizing his generosity, skill, and commitment as a teacher of history, both in the undergraduate classroom and as a graduate mentor. His Perspectives on History columns during his presidential year have highlighted the importance of teaching to his professional self; in “The United States Needs Historians” (May 2023), he closed by writing: “I tell you this as a teacher of history.” His desire to be a history teacher long predated his engagement with research. In high school, in fact, he joined the Future Teachers of America organization. He has had a distinguished career teaching undergraduates, and at Northwestern he has won two awards for excellence in teaching and holds the Charles Deering McCormick Professorship of Teaching Excellence. Many of Muir’s former teaching assistants describe him as a master lecturer. One comments that his lectures embodied sprezzatura, the Italian Renaissance idea of studied carelessness, or performing difficult actions while hiding the effort that went into them. Genevieve Carlton (PhD, Northwestern 2011) recalls:

I’ll never forget the day Ed Muir pulled a fork out of his pocket during the middle of an undergraduate lecture. Ed ended his Italian Renaissance class with a lecture on manners and behavior. After walking through all kinds of examples of manners as self- fashioning, he asked the students why we eat with forks. Is it because of germs? No, they didn’t have our modern concept of germs. Cleanliness? Then why eat pizza, cherries, and chocolate by hand? Ed posited that forks exist to separate the cultured from the riffraff. They aren’t easy to use or even necessary. Instead, forks were everyday examples of culture. When I taught the Italian Renaissance for the first time as a professor, you better believe I showed up to class with a fork in my pocket.

Sarah Ross, now professor of history at Boston College, had the opportunity to co-teach with Muir during her time at Northwestern, and she remembers “his deep respect for students, evident in his desire to engage them through meticulous preparation and clear outlines, in the whole vibe of the class and the high demands he subtly articulated, and in his warm invitations to chat about the material after class—and even debate after class! He made it clear that he respected them all as intellectuals, even if not all quite earned that respect.” Many of his former graduate students recount elements of his pedagogy that they use themselves or try to emulate.

In the graduate classroom, Muir encouraged students to think creatively, to play with the past, and to talk to one another. Students recall graduate seminars that were collaborative rather than competitive. Melissa Vise (PhD, Northwestern 2015), now associate professor of medieval Mediterranean history at Washington and Lee University, remarks that “Ed was one of the few who was always aware of the fact that he was educating future teachers as well as researchers and who brought that sensibility into the graduate classroom.”

In fact, another way of measuring Muir’s impact on the field of Renaissance studies is through his impact as a graduate student mentor. He was the primary advisor on more than 20 dissertation projects, some at Syracuse University and Louisiana State University, but the majority during his 30 years on the Northwestern faculty. He also acted as the second reader or external adviser on countless other PhD journeys. Reflecting back on his career as a graduate mentor, Muir is characteristically generous: “It’s been incredibly gratifying to learn so much from all of you,” he says. Maxson, professor at East Tennessee State University, notes how this Muir-ism fits with his own memories and observations. “In both his office and his seminars, Ed was very good at listening to what was being said and identifying key kernels on which to build new ideas,” Maxson recalls. “In such settings Ed was clearly taking mental notes and identifying key points on which to lay the foundation of new work to come.” His journals, Maxson continues, reveal the same approach. “Ed tends to be a ‘notetaker’ when he reads, meaning that he underlines key points, writes notes in the margins to find information later, or identifies and summarizes the arguments of an article. He was clearly listening to these authors intently, making sure he had heard their full arguments without interruption, and then creating the framework for using that work in his own publications to come.”

What is the secret to Muir’s success in advising? In his own words, “Being a graduate mentor is a listening act.” Multiple former students mentioned his skill at helping them find their intellectual passions in conversations. Nicholas Baker (PhD, Northwestern 2007), now an associate professor at Macquarie University, remembers, “One would go into Ed’s office as a grad student with some partly developed, slightly incoherent thoughts that one would articulate poorly and at length. Ed would listen carefully, and respond: ‘So what you mean is this ’ He would then say exactly what you had been struggling to say, elegantly and succinctly.” Now a research specialist at the Isaccson, Miller firm, Alexandra Thomas (PhD, Northwestern 2018) commented that “he’s adept at thinking with you, not for you.” Vise describes the effect of a dissertation meeting with Muir as “wizardry,” explaining that “the really special thing about his method is that he is so darn affable and kind that you don’t realize what he is doing until well after any given meeting. Suddenly the clouds of murky thought processes have parted, and you can see your own good ideas because Ed asked the right questions of you.”

A common early challenge for graduate students is finding a research topic for the dissertation. While some advisers push students toward their own areas of expertise, Muir’s philosophy privileges the student’s own curiosity and interests; he states that a “research topic should come from a student’s intellectual soul, not mine.” Multiple former students confirm this, recalling his light-handed guidance in their first years. Ed was (and is) particularly adept at listening to ideas and matching them with likely archives. As Peter Mazur (PhD, Northwestern 2008) says, “He is so knowledgeable about all the different archives in Italy and how they relate to specific states, ruling families, and religious authorities. The missing piece usually involved trying to figure out whether the kind of information I was looking for would have been recorded anywhere at all, and then narrowing down the places where it would have been left behind.” Karl Appuhn (PhD, Northwestern 1999), associate professor of history at New York University, observes that as a result of Ed’s approach, “there is no prototypical Muir student. He has trained students who work on nearly every conceivable aspect of the Renaissance world— intellectual history, the history of women and gender, religious history, economic history, histories of empire, environmental history, and more.”

Muir’s research interests led him down many interdisciplinary paths, so it is not surprising that he welcomed interdisciplinary interests in his students. Michael Paul Martoccio (PhD, Northwestern 2015), now an assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, considered leaving history for political science, but Ed “gave me space to explore a new topic and asked no questions. I would like to explain his attitude that day by means of his scholarship; Ed’s early work borrowed a good deal from anthropology, so I think he saw the value in exploring another discipline. But I think the answer is simpler: he’s a good guy. His trust in me was rewarded when, a trimester later, I was back to the history department with a bunch of political science books on my shelf, a whole new topic, and a good appreciation for the rewards of interdisciplinary study.” Conversely, Stephanie Nadalo (PhD, Northwestern 2014) began in the art history department and relates how “Ed forever changed the course of my career and invited me to join the NU history department. Though I initially wrestled with imposter syndrome, I am grateful that Ed taught me to embrace an interdisciplinary methodology that is firmly grounded in archival research. This has proven incredibly useful as my academic and professional journey has taken several exciting and unpredictable turns (from Chicago to Florence to Rome to Paris).”

While Muir remains open minded about students’ research questions, he insists that they grapple with archival research. He acknowledges that this requires a set of linguistic and paleographical skills that are hard to acquire, but he believes that it is by immersing oneself in an archive of unpublished sources that a historian creates new knowledge. Laura McGough (PhD, Northwestern 1997) recounts the advice he gave before she headed off for a year in the Venetian archives: “Do not ask any existential questions. Do not ask yourself why you are there and what you are doing. Just go to the archives every day and try to read your documents. After one month, you will be understanding your documents.” She adds, “Guess what? It worked!” Ross remembers that when she was first heading into the archives, Muir reassured her that there would be something worthwhile to think about even when that last possible busta of the day did not yield exactly what she had hoped to find (or anything close to it): “If you can’t read the one you want, read the one you’re with.”

In 2001, Muir was selected to give the Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture to the Renaissance Society of America. The talk, published in Renaissance Quarterly as “The Idea of Community in Renaissance Italy,” proceeds from the methodological assumption that close reading of exceptional events in unusual places can reveal the “hidden transcripts” of everyday life. Muir’s commitment to this type of microhistorical work, and his love for the weird and unusual in the archives, led to one of his most often-cited injunctions for would-be historians: “Find the piece that doesn’t fit, the piece you don’t understand, and focus on that one.” Multiple students spoke about the long-term benefits of the method, with several telling stories of how an archival oddity that did not fit at first turned into an article or a second book. As Celeste McNamara (PhD, Northwestern 2013) of Dublin City University puts it, “As a historian who has a strong interest in social history and takes a particular pleasure in looking at encounters between authorities like bishops or courts and ordinary people, looking for the ‘piece that doesn’t fit’ is central to my own research methods.”

Much as Muir’s own research focuses on the ties that bind and build community, in the same spirit (and perhaps in an effort to avoid other sorts of ritualized violence) he makes deliberate efforts to celebrate success and create bonds among graduate cohorts. Mark Jurdjevic (PhD, Northwestern 2002) recalls the celebrations Muir hosted to welcome new graduate students and to celebrate students’ successes, saying, “He is a warm and generous person. When you’re a petrified insecure grad student (which we all were, while pretending not to be) that goes a long, long way. His support and genuine pride in our accomplishments was highly visible.”

In 2009, Muir won a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and he used the funds from the award to found the interdisciplinary Academy for Advanced Study in the Renaissance (AASR) in partnership with Regina Schwartz, professor of English at Northwestern. Muir and Schwartz intended the AASR to build community among the next generation of Renaissance scholars, creating a network of graduate students from different institutions and subfields and traveling to multiple European destinations. The traveling seminar provided an introduction to institutions, libraries, and senior scholars as well as professionalization. Multiple participants observed that they were astounded that when Ed got the Mellon grant, he chose to spend the money on graduate students rather than funding research leaves, conferences, and other initiatives that would benefit more senior academics. As McNamara, a participant in one of the AASR trips, notes: “Instead, Ed invested in our future careers.” She found the “professional and personal contacts we made, and the experience of working together across disciplines and subfields” to be deeply valuable. Another participant remembered how when someone would mention Ed’s own research, he would respond “Well that’s just what I wrote—I don’t know, I might be wrong! You should disagree with me.” Inviting debate offered license to younger scholars to think for themselves and is typical of Muir’s trademark generosity of spirit as a scholar and a mentor.

Another of the great gifts of Muir’s mentorship is that it “doesn’t end with the hooding.” He continues to offer support in the form of countless letters of recommendation, suggestions for publication outlets, fellowship nominations, and general encouragement to take one’s place as a younger scholar in the field. Azeta Kola (PhD, Northwestern 2016) remembers an occasion when she was presenting at a conference and in the subsequent discussion, “Ed encouraged me to move from the audience to the table upfront, where the discussant sat, and continue my argument there. At that moment, I realized Ed wanted my point to take center stage. I felt my research had merit, and that I was a professional in the field.” Appuhn also notes Ed’s abilities at helping students launch their careers, saying,“He is also immensely skilled at teaching his students how to be in the profession, how to present their work, and how to make it compelling, even (perhaps especially) if they are working on a topic he would never choose for himself.” Beyond his ability to help connect individual projects to developments and interests of the wider field, Ed consistently shows an interest in students as people, not just as scholars. He is remarkably accepting and supportive of a variety of life paths. In the words of Thomas, “Ed is always rooting for you to succeed and be happy, whatever that looks like.”

Monique O’Connell (PhD, Northwestern 2002), professor at Wake Forest University, observes that Muir’s influence works through his role as an exemplar as much as through direct guidance, saying, “While I certainly learned a huge amount from Ed in graduate school, it wasn’t until much later in my career, when I became department chair and then associate dean of faculty, that I realized the invisible lessons Ed had taught through example about how to interact with your colleagues.” All three authors of this piece have held administrative roles, in part due to Ed’s modeling of service to the institution and the discipline. And all three of us, when faced with the thorny personalities and knotty problems of academic administration, have found ourselves asking, “What would Ed do?” The answer to that question is clear: He would be kinder, more generous, more understanding of the other person’s perspective, and he would call on everyone in the faculty meeting, seminar, or conflict to access the better angels of their own nature. As grateful beneficiaries of his guidance for decades now, we are confident that his term as president of the American Historical Association will have positive effects on the organization and its membership well into the future.



Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981.

History from Crime. Co-edited with Guido Ruggiero. Selections from Quaderni Storici, no. 3. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta and Factions in Friuli during the Renaissance. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993. Reader’s edition, Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta in Renaissance Italy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

Microhistory and the Lost Peoples of Europe. Co-edited with Guido Ruggiero. Selections from Quaderni Storici, no. 2. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Ritual in Early Modern Europe. New Approaches in European History series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. 2nd edition, 2005.

Sex and Gender in Historical Perspective. Co-edited with Guido Ruggiero. Selections from Quaderni Storici, no. 1. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

The Culture Wars of the Late Renaissance: Skeptics, Libertines, and Opera. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007.

The Delicate Sinews of Trust: The Italian Renaissance, 1350-1650. Forthcoming.

The Leopold von Ranke Manuscript Collection of Syracuse University: The Complete Catalogue. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1983.

The West: Encounters and Transformations. Co-author with Brian Levack and Meredith Veldman. New York: Longman-Pearson, 2004. 5th edition, 2016.