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Robert Clines

Robert Clines

Assistant Professor

College of Arts and Sciences


Contact Information

Phone: 828.227.2605
Office: 203B McKee Building
Personal Website:


My research and teaching interests focus on issues race, ethnicity, and religious identity in the medieval and early modern world, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean.<br><br>My first book, <i>A Jewish Jesuit in the Eastern Mediterranean</i> (Cambridge UP, 2019), explores the personal letters, official correspondence, and autobiography of Giovanni Battista Eliano, a sixteenth-century Jewish-born Jesuit priest. By tracing the ways that Eliano confronted the entanglement of his Jewish past and Catholic identity, this book illuminates what it was like to be a convert and in turn nuances our understanding of the ways in which individuals both constructed and performed richer senses of themselves and became agents of change in the early modern Mediterranean.<br><br>In addition to <i>A Jewish Jesuit, </i>I have published essays and book reviews in various journals. I was also awarded a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome as well as a postdoctoral fellowship from the Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at the University of Cambridge.


  • Ph D, Syracuse University
  • MA, Miami University
  • BA, John Carroll University

Teaching Interests

I teach courses on Renaissance and Reformation Europe, the Mediterranean, global history, religious history, travel writing, and early modern political thought. I am currently developing a special topics course on premodern race as well as a graduate seminar on Orientalism, Imperialism, and Classics.<br><br>I seek theses on premodern race and ethnicity, early modern interfaith encounters, and comparative and global premodernity as well as projects that warrant unorthodox, theoretical, and non-traditional methods in the exploration of comparative history and the history of the constructions of race and Orientalism. I am particularly interested in advising students of color, LGBTQIA students, and first-generation college students.

Research Interests

My current book project, <i>Ancient Others: Essays on Race, Empire, and the Mediterranean in Italian Renaissance Humanism,</i> explores the ways in which Italian humanists from Petrarch to Tasso envisioned Italians as the rightful heirs of Roman Mediterranean hegemony. This project engages with a number of methodological and theoretical approaches to argue that Italians' vision of the wider world hinged on ethnoracial constructions of non-Italians as a means of reconciling ideologies of Italian liberty with visions of settler-colonialism and a historically universal and teleological understanding of empire.

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