Giancarlo Family Provost's Professor of History


Amy G. Remensnyder joined the Brown faculty in 1993, where she is now Professor of History and Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence.  She earned her A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard University, studied at Cambridge University and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris, and received her Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Berkeley. Her honors include the Van Courtland Elliott Prize from the Medieval Academy of America, Brown’s Stephen Robert Assistant Professorship, and Brown’s William G. McLoughlin Award for Teaching Excellence. She has held research fellowships from the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, the American Council of Learned Societies, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Käte Hamburger Kolleg of the Ruhr-Universität in Germany, and, most recently, the American Academy in Berlin as a Berlin Prize winner. She is the author of two books, one that spans the Atlantic to place medieval Iberia in dialogue with colonial Mexico by exploring the Virgin Mary as a symbol of conquest and conversion (La Conquistadora: The Virgin Mary at War and Peace in the Old and New Worlds, 2014), and another that focuses on high medieval monasteries and collective memory in southern France (Remembering Kings Past: Monastic Foundation Legends in Medieval Southern France, 1995). She is a co-editor of Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice (2011) and is the director of the Brown History Education Prison Project. Her professional service includes terms as a councilor of the Medieval Academy of America and as a member of the editorial boards of Al-Masāq: Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean and of the Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies. She is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America.

Her current book project is Island of Trust in a Sea of Danger: Lampedusa. This innovative longue durée, maritime microhistory brings together past and present to explore the outsized importance of the tiny Mediterranean island of Lampedusa to mobile people now – migrants – and to mobile people between 1200 and 1700: Muslim and Christian pirates and the human victims of their violence. Uninhabited between 1200-1700, Lampedusa was the site of a renowned sacred shrine created by and shared by violent men of the sea of both faiths, but it was also a place where they took captives. Offering a historical perspective on the current refugee crisis, the book draws on environmental history, island studies, and the “oceanic turn” to show how Lampedusa’s past illuminates dark corners of the somber history of sea-borne violence in the Mediterranean that married piracy, captivity, slavery, ostensible religious antagonism and actual religious entanglement between Muslims and Christians.

Her future book projects include:

1. A Global History of Captivity (a synthetic overview of the history of captivity across the world)

2. Neighbors: Life in a Medieval Borderland (a microhistory based on archival documents and focusing on the network of social, sexual, cultural, economic, and military relations that, in the fifteenth century, bound the Granadan Muslim town of Vera together with its Christian neighbor immediately across the frontier in Castile, Lorca)   



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