Samantha Kellyalt

Professor: Medieval Europe, Mediterranean, Horn of Africa

Ph.D., Northwestern, 1998

B.A., Yale, 1989

At Rutgers Since 1999

105 Van Dyck Hall
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Trained as a historian of medieval Europe with a particular interest in Italian politics and culture, Samantha Kelly’s current research examines the relations between Europe and the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia in the pre-modern era. Her 2003 book, The New Solomon: Robert of Anjou (1309-1343) and Fourteenth-Century Kingship (winner of the Marraro Prize of the American Catholic Historical Association) examined the ruling strategies and image-making of a monarch who juggled the responsibilities of his several Mediterranean territories and who cultivated an image of erudition and piety that attracted the attention of contemporary luminaries like Petrarch and Dante. In 2011 she published The ‘Cronaca di Partenope’: An Introduction to and Critical Edition of the First Vernacular History of Naples, examining the dating, authorship, sources, historical context and later influence of a text that was a landmark in Neapolitan communal identity and foundational to many later histories of the city and kingdom.

With the help of a Mellon New Directions Fellowship, Kelly began studyingGǝ‘ǝz, the literary language of medieval Ethiopia, in 2012-13 in order to study Ethiopian-European relations from the perspective of both sides. Her current projects include editing the Companion to Medieval Ethiopia, a collection of essays by twenty scholars; a database of the manuscripts and printed books once belonging to the Ethiopian pilgrim hostel in Rome, Santo Stefano degli Abissini; and a monograph, Crucible of Christian Cultures, centered on Ethiopian-European intellectual collaboration in the age of reformation, for which she was awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies in 2017.

In addition to the Mellon Foundation and the ACLS, Kelly’s research has been funded by the American Academy in Rome, the Istituto Italiano di Studi Storici in Naples, the École française de Rome, and Villa I Tatti. She has served as director of Rutgers’ Program in Medieval Studies (2008-11), Associate Chair of the Rutgers History department (2016-17), and Councillor of the Medieval Academy of America (2014-17).