Skip to main content

Robert Clines

Robert Clines

Associate Professor

College of Arts and Sciences


Contact Information

Office: 203B McKee Building
Personal Website:
Pronouns: he, him, his


In addition to teaching in the History Department, I am jointly appointed in International Studies.<br><br>My research and teaching interests focus on Orientalism, 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. <i>A Jewish Jesuit</i> 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>I have published numerous essays and book reviews. My essays explore Catholic missions to the Levant, Egypt, and Ethiopia; Jewish conversion to Catholicism; European visions of Eastern Christianity and Islam; Mediterranean identity formation and cross-cultural interaction; foreigners in baroque Rome; and the Palestinian-American comparatist, activist, and cultural critic Edward W. Said.<br><br>I received a Ph.D. and M.Phil. from Syracuse University, an M.A. from Miami University, and a B.A. from John Carroll University.<br><br>My research has been supported by the RaceB4Race Premodern Critical Race Studies Network; a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome; a postdoctoral fellowship from the Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at the University of Cambridge; and predoctoral residency fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the US-Italy Fulbright Commission.<br><br>I currently serve as Vice President and Co-Chair of Communications and Outreach for the Society of Fellows of the American Academy in Rome.<br><br>You can follow me on socials, read my scholarship, and set up a Zoom appointment via my bio link


  • MA, Miami University
  • BA, John Carroll University

Teaching Interests

I teach courses on the Mediterranean, religion, travel writing, and race. I am currently developing courses on premodern race and Mediterranean intersectionality. <br><br>I seek theses on premodern race and ethnicity, interfaith encounters, 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. I welcome the opportunity to work with students of color, women, LGBTQIA2+ students, first-generation college students, and students from historically underrepresented groups.

Research Interests

My current book project, <i>Ancient Others: Race and Empire in Italian Renaissance Humanism,</i> engages with critical race, postcolonial, and cultural theories to argue that Italian humanists used racialized language as a means of reconciling ideologies of universal liberty and virtue with visions of conquest, settler-colonialism, and empire.<br><br>I have a number of ongoing essay projects: race-mixing and whitewashing in Petrarch's epic poem <i>Africa</i>; connecting medieval Italian antiblackness to modern anti-Arab racism in the US; race and religious conversion in late 16th-century Rome; race and periodization in 16th-century Italian dialogues.

Office of Web Services