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Peter W. Sposato
Peter W. Sposato,  Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History

Research

Research Interests:

  1. violence (public and private)
  2. honor-shame cultures
  3. chivalry and knighthood
  4. Late Medieval/Early Renaissance Italy (especially Tuscany)
  5. the historical uses of imaginative literature (romances, chanson de gestes, etc.)

Current Research:

My research focuses on the intersection of violence, chivalry, and the powerful cultural forces of honor-shame in Late Medieval/Early Renaissance Italy, especially Tuscany. My current book project examines the important influence of chivalric ideology on the lifestyle and mentality of the Florentine 'chivalric elite', a group of strenuous knights and arms bearers whose membership transcended traditional social and cultural boundaries. Specifically, I study chivalry's influence on their identity, which was closely connected to the profession of arms (war), as well as the exercise of honor- and social-violence. Moreover, I study the attitudes, ideas, and ideals that informed the mentality of these warriors. Understanding mentality is a difficult task, but possible through the study of works of imaginative literature which were composed for and by strenuous warriors. These works, especially romances and chanson de gestes, allow historians to understand the ideological underpinnings of and motivations behind chivalric mentality and, especially, the exercise of social- and honor-violence. I am also currently working on several article-length projects on related topics.

Last updated: 08/25/2017