Carrie Beneš

Professor of History/CYC Director - Gender Studies - History - Interdisciplinary Programs - Medieval and Renaissance Studies - Rhetoric and Writing - Social Sciences

Carrie Beneš
  • Phone: (941) 487-4383
  • Email:
  • Office Location: ACE 106
  • Mail Location: SSC 102

M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
A.B., Harvard University

Go to Dr. Beneš’s personal homepage

Professor Beneš is a cultural historian specializing in late medieval Italy. Her main research interests involve intellectual networks and the construction of history as a means to identity: specifically, how people throughout history have used and manipulated the past to suit their own ends. Her first book, Urban Legends: Italian Civic Identity & the Classical Past, 1250–1350 (2011) explored the use of the classical Roman past as political propaganda in the medieval Italian city-states. More recently, she was the general editor of (and contributor to) A Companion to Medieval Genoa (2018) and the translator of Jacopo da Varagine’s Chronicle of the City of Genoa (1298) (forthcoming 2019). She is also working on a second monograph on the changing role of the classical SPQR abbreviation in the politics, ideology, and iconography of medieval and Renaissance Italy. Her other academic interests include book history (palaeography, codicology, illumination, and the history of libraries), Italian humanism, the history and historiography of the Renaissance, urban history, premodern travel, and the historical epidemiology (especially the plague). She offers courses on these subjects as well as general surveys of the medieval, Renaissance, and early modern periods. She has received numerous professional honors including a Post-Doctoral Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome, Italy.

Recent Courses

  • Death, Hell, and Capitalism: Medieval Italy in the Age of Dante & Petrarch
  • The History and Legacy of Rome
  • Travel and Cultural Exchange before the “Age of Exploration”: The Global Middle Ages
  • Norman Conquests of the Medieval World
  • Renaissance & Reformation Europe
  • The Black Death
  • Historical Methods

Honors and Awards
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Rome Prize 2008-2009

Selected Publications

  • General editor and contributor, A Companion to Medieval Genoa (Brill, 2018).
  • Translator, Jacopo da Varagine, Chronicle of the City of  Genoa (1298) (Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2019).
  • Urban Legends: Civic Identity & the Classical Past, 1250-1350 (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011).
  • Ancient and Most Noble: Catalogues of City Foundation in Fourteenth-Century Italy,” in Medieval Manuscripts, Their Makers and Users: Essays in Honor of Richard and Mary Rouse, ed. C. Baswell, C. Dutschke, and S. Hindman (Brepols, 2011).
  • “Whose SPQR? Sovereignty and Semiotics in Medieval Rome.” Speculum 84 (2009), 874–904.
  • “Many Januses in Search of Unity: Defining Civic Identity in Genoa, 1257-1312.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, 3rd Ser., 6 (2009), 53-92.
  • “Mapping a Roman Legend: The House of Cola di Rienzo from Piranesi to Baedeker.” Italian Culture 26 (2008), 53-83.
  • “Debunking the Dinosaur Myth: A Case for Palaeography and the Undergraduate Curriculum.” Medieval Academy News 158 (Fall 2007), 10.
  • “The Appearance and Spread of the E-Cedilla.” Manuscripta 43/44 (1999-2000), 1-43.
  • “Cola di Rienzo and the Lex Regia.” Viator 30 (1999), 231-252.