Professor: Medieval Europe, Mediterranean, Horn of Africa
Ph.D., Northwestern, 1998
B.A., Yale, 1989
At Rutgers Since 1999
223B Van Dyck Hall
Samantha Kelly is a historian of medieval Europe. Much of her research has focused on later-medieval Italy and its connections to other European and Mediterranean regions, especially with regard to the intersection of religion and politics and the uses of the past. Her first book, The New Solomon: Robert of Anjou (1309-1343) and Fourteenth-Century Kingship (2003), 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. The monograph was awarded the Marraro Prize by the Catholic Historical Association of America as the best book of 2003 in Italian or Italian-American history. She has recently completed her second project, the first sustained study and critical edition of a medieval history of Naples known as the Cronaca di Partenope that was a landmark in Neapolitan communal identity and foundational to many later histories of the city and kingdom. In articles and invited lectures in the U.S. and Europe she has explored aspects of medieval historiography including the geographical mapping of group identity, the fluid boundary between “civic” and “royal” history, and the role of physical objects and spaces in the activation and preservation of memory.
Kelly’s new research project extends her interest in the Mediterranean to include the Horn of Africa, especially Ethiopia. In addition to tracing Europeans’ complex reactions to the kingdom, the project will mine the little-known literature of medieval Ethiopia itself (written in Ge’ez, a Semitic language unique to Ethiopia) to examine its internal history, relations with neighboring Muslim powers, and priorities with regard to contact with Europe. A Mellon New Directions fellowship, awarded in 2011, will fund linguistic and interdisciplinary training in Europe and Ethiopia to facilitate this research.In addition to the Mellon Foundation, Kelly’s work has been funded by the American Academy in Rome, the Istituto italiano per gli studi storici in Naples, the École française de Rome, and the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (Villa I Tatti). In 2005 she received a Distinguished Teaching Award from Rutgers University for her contributions to undergraduate education. She is also active in the training of doctoral candidates in medieval history and in the Rutgers Program in Medieval Studies, of which she is currently director.
COURSES REGULARLY TAUGHT
- 510:101 Development of Europe, Part I (c.200 - c. 1700)
- 510:317 The Renaissance
- 510:337 Medieval Kings & Queens
- 510:401 The Medieval Book (seminar)
- 510:595 Colloquium in Medieval History (rotating topics include medieval Italy, medieval religious, texts and interpretation)
- The ‘Cronaca di Partenope’: An Introduction to and Critical Edition of the First Vernacular History of Naples (c. 1350). Leiden, 2011.
- “Intercultural Identity and the Local Vernacular: Neapolitan History as Articulated in the Cronaca di Partenope (c. 1350).” Medieval History Journal, forthcoming in 2011.
- “The Neapolitan Giovanni Villani: Florence, Naples, and Medieval Historiographical Categorization.” In Renaissance Studies in Honor of Joseph Connors, ed. L. Waldman and M. Israëls, forthcoming.
- “Chronicon di Santa Maria del Principio.” In Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle, ed. R. G. Dunphy, vol. 1. Leiden, 2010.
- “Monarquia y ciudad: consciencia cívica y identidad urbana en Napoles antes 1400.” In Modelos culturales y normas sociales al final de la Edad Media, ed. Patrick Boucheron and Francisco Ruiz Gómez. Cuenca, 2009.
- “L’usage des sources dans la Cronaca di Partenope (Naples, XIVe siècle).” Invited lecture for symposium L’écriture de l’histoire du Moyen Age au XVIIe siècle. Université de Versailles, France, May 2010.
- “Neapolitan History and the ‘Print Revolution.’” New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Sarasota, FL, March 2010.
- “The Cathedral and Communal Memory in Medieval Naples.” 44th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI, May 2009
- “Continuities in Angevin-Aragonese Culture: The Development of Local Historiography.” Renaissance Society of America annual conference. Los Angeles, CA, March 2009.
- “Naples’ Legendary Past: Textual Tradition and Local Knowledge in the making of the Cronaca di Partenope.” Invited lecture, Western Michigan University, September 2008.
- “Historical Writing in North and South Italy.” American Historical Association annual meeting. Philadelphia, PA, January 2006.