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Robert Clines

Robert Clines

Associate Professor, History and International Studies

College of Arts and Sciences

History

Contact Information

Email: rjclines@wcu.edu
Personal Website: https://linktr.ee/robertclines
Pronouns: He, Him, His

Biography

I received my Ph.D. and M.Phil. from Syracuse University, M.A. from Miami University, and B.A. from John Carroll University.<br><br>I am an interdisciplinary scholar of race, religion, and cross-cultural encounters in the premodern Mediterranean. My scholarship has been supported by the US-Italy Fulbright Commission, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Cambridge, the American Academy in Rome, and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.<br><br>My first book, <i>A Jewish Jesuit in the Eastern Mediterranean </i>(Cambridge University Press, 2019), explores the personal letters, official correspondence, and autobiography of Giovanni Battista Eliano (1530-1589), a Jewish-born Jesuit missionary to Eastern Christians in the Ottoman Empire. It argues that conversion from Judaism to Christianity was shaped by the believe that one’s Jewishness remained central to one’s Catholic identity, rendering conversion an evolutionary process that operated in the complex and fluid landscape of the Mediterranean.<br><br>I am currently working on a few book-length projects. The first,<i> Ancient Others: Race and Empire in Italian Humanism</i>, explores dialogues, diaries, epic and lyric poems, histories, and letters to illustrate that race thinking was central to how Italians saw the textual and physical remains of antiquity. I argue that they employed antiquity in this manner to reconcile ideologies of liberty and virtue with visions of conquest and empire that resulted in the racialization of Africans, Asians, and transalpine Europeans as inferior to Italians.<br><br>The second, <i>Race, Gender, and the Precarity of Empire in the Renaissance Epic</i>, interrogates the intersection of race, gender, and sexual encounters in Renaissance epic poetry from Dante to Milton. It argues that epicists emphasized racial purity and female chastity as entangled elements of the teleology of imperial hegemony and race-mixing as a threat to white supremacy and the stability of empire.<br><br>Lastly, along with Laura Ingallinella of the University of Toronto, I am editing an interdisciplinary collection of essays on race in premodern Italy.<br><br><b>Publications</b><br><b>Book</b><br><br><i>A Jewish Jesuit in the Eastern Mediterranean: Early Modern Conversion, Mission, and the Construction of Identity </i>(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).<br><br><b>Essays</b><br>“The Paradoxical Colosseum: A Mesocosm for Early Modern Rome,” with Kristi Cheramie. <i>Land, Air, Sea: Environment in the Early Modern Period</i>, Jennifer Ferng and Lauren Jacobi, eds. Leiden: Brill, forthcoming.<br><br>“Dido and Laura in Carthage: White Purity, Epidermal Race, and Sexual Violence in Petrarch’s <i>Africa</i><i>.</i>” <i>postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies </i>(2023). doi.org/10.1057/s41280-022-00258-8.<br><br>“The Poetics of <i>Gentilezza</i> in the <i>Fiore</i> and the Emergence of Dante’s Political Vision before the Exile,” <i>Bibliotheca </i><i>Dantesca: Journal of Dante Studies, </i>5 (2022): 94-118<i>.</i><br><br>“Edward W. Said, Renaissance Orientalism, and Imaginative Geographies of a Classical Mediterranean,” <i>Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome </i>65<i> </i>(2021), 483-535<i>. </i><br><br>“Pope as Arbiter: Schism and Sectarianism as Motivations for Eastern Rite Christians Traveling to Early Modern Rome,” in <i>A Companion to </i><i>Religious Minorities in Early Modern Rome</i>, edited by Emily Michelson and Matthew Coneys (Leiden: Brill, 2020), 55-88.<br><br>“Between hermits and heretics: Maronite Religious Renewal and the Turk in Catholic Travel Accounts of Lebanon after the Council of Trent,” in <i>Travel and Conflict in the Early Modern World</i>, edited by Gabor Gelleri and Rachel Willie (London: Routledge, 2020), 108-126.<br><br>“The Converting Sea: Religious Change and Cross-Cultural Interaction in the Early Modern Mediterranean,” <i>History Compass</i> 17:1 (January 2019), e12512.<br><br>“Wayward Leadership and the Breakdown of Reform on the Failed Jesuit Mission to the Maronites, 1577-1579,” <i>Journal of Early Modern History</i> 22:4 (Summer 2018): 215-237.<br><br>“How to Become a Jesuit Crypto-Jew: The Self-Confessionalization of Giovanni Battista Eliano through the Textual Artifice of Conversion,” <i>The Sixteenth Century Journal</i> 48:1 (Spring 2017): 3-26.<br><br>“Fighting Enemies and Finding Friends: The Cosmopolitan Pragmatism of Jesuit Residences in the Ottoman Levant,” <i>Renaissance</i> <i>Studies</i> 31:1 (February 2017): 66-86.<br><br>“Jesuit Thalassology Reconsidered: The Mediterranean Geopolitics of the Jesuit Presence in Seventeenth-Century Ethiopia,” <i>Mediterranean</i> <i>Historical</i> <i>Review</i> 31:01 (June 2016): 43-64.<br><br>“The Society of Jesus and the Early Modern Christian Orient,” <i>Jesuit Historiography Online</i> (2016).

Education

  • MA, Miami University
  • BA, John Carroll University

Teaching Interests

Mediterranean religion and culture; travel writing; premodern race; global history; Italian humanism

Research Interests

premodern critical race studies; Italian humanism; the epic tradition; the Mediterranean world

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