Dr. Richard Calis

Dr. Richard Calis

Assistant Professor
Cultural History


Richard Calis is Assistant Professor in Cultural History at Utrecht University. Trained as a classicist and linguist, he works predominantly on the cultural, religious, and intellectual history of the early modern world. Most of his research revolves around questions of cultural exchange, and how people write about other people. He also finds inspiration in reading about other things, from the history of food and the history of ancient ruins to anything that has to do with microhistory and storytelling.

His first book, The Discovery of Ottoman Greece: Knowledge, Encounter, and Belief in the Mediterranean World of Martin Crusius (1526-1607), will appear with Harvard University Press. It traces the life of a now forgotten sixteenth-century individual to explore how early modern scholars studied cultural and religious difference. He is currently developing a second project about the role of dialogue in divided societies. Other research in the making concerns the history of Utrecht University, scholarship and sociabilty in the early modern university, and a broader collaborative research initiative about archives and power. 

Before coming to Utrecht, he was a Research Fellow in History at Trinity College, Cambridge. He received his PhD from Princeton University and studied at the University of Amsterdam and the Università Ca' Foscari Venezia. He has been a visiting researcher at the University of Tübingen (2017, 2019), the Descartes Centre of Utrecht University (2017), the University of Oxford (2018), and the Vossius Center of the University of Amsterdam (2020).


Key Publications:

"The Lutheran Experience in the Ottoman Middle East: Stephan Gerlach (1546-1612) and the History of Lutheran Accommodation", The English Historical Review (2024). Advance article available here.

“The Impossible Reformation: Protestant Europe and Greek Orthodox Church”, Past & Present 259.1 (2023): 43-76. Available here.

"Martin Crusius's Lost Byzantine Legacy", in: Nathanael Aschenbrenner and Jake Ransohoff (eds.), The Invention of Byzantium in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2021) 105-142. Available here.

“Reconstructing the Ottoman Greek World: Early Modern Ethnography in the Household of Martin Crusius.” Renaissance Quarterly 72.1 (2019): 148-93. Available here. Honorable Mention William Nelson Prize.

“Passing the Book: Cultures of Reading in the Winthrop Family, 1580–1730”, Past & Present 241 (2018): 69-141 (with Frederic Clark, Christian Flow, Anthony Grafton, Madeline McMahon, Jennifer Rampling). Available here.

“Building a Digital Bookwheel Together: Annotated Books Online and the History of Early Modern Reading Practices”, Bibliothecae.it III (2014): 63-80 (with Arnoud Visser). Available here.


Other Output:

“At the dawn of Byzantine Studies: Martin Crusius (1526-1607): Interview for ‘Byzantium & Friends’ Podcast.” Available here. 

"A New History of Orientalism", Marginalia: Los Angeles Review of Books (2021).

Podcast with Pamela Long about her Engineering the Eternal City: Infrastructure, Topography, and the Culture of Knowledge in Late Sixteenth-Century Rome (Chicago University Press, 2018) for the Journal of the History of Ideas Blog. (together with Lilian Datchev).

“The Winthrops and their Books: A Transatlantic Tale”, The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History (2015; with Madeline McMahon).

“Two Editors and their Theophrastus”, Journal of the History of Ideas Blog (2015).

“Personal Philology”, Journal of the History of Ideas Blog (2015).



Stefano Villani, Making Italy Anglican: Why the Book of Common Prayer was Translated into Italian (Oxford, 2022). Journal of Religious History. Advance review available.

Giuseppe Marcocci, The Globe on Paper: Writing Histories of the World in Renaissance Europe (Oxford, 2020) and Stuart McManus, Empire of Eloquence: The Classical Rhetorical Tradition in Colonial Latin America and the Iberian World (Cambridge, 2021). Journal of Early Modern History 27 (2023): 255-271. Available here.

Ulrike Strasser, Missionary Men in the Early Modern World: German Jesuits and Pacific Journeys (Amsterdam, 2020). Renaissance Studies 37.1 (2023): 130-132. Available here.

Emily Michelson and Matthew Coneys Wainwright (eds). A Companion to Religious Minorities in Early Modern Rome (Leiden, 2020). Renaissance Quarterly 75.3 (2022). Available here.

Peter Burke, The Polymath: A Cultural History from Leonardo da Vinci to Susan Sontag (New Haven, 2020). English Historical Review 137.585 (2022): 649-651. Available here.

Ulinka Rublack (ed.), Protestant Empires: Globalizing the Reformations (Cambridge, 2020). German History 39.4 (2021): 628-629. Available here.

Carolyn Yerkes and Heather Hyde Minor, Piranesi Unbound (Princeton, 2021). International Journal of the Classical Tradition(2021). Available here.

Robert John Clines, A Jewish Jesuit in the Eastern Mediterranean (Cambridge, 2019). Mediterranean Historical Review 36.2 (2021): 286-288. Available here.

Floris Verhaart, Classical Learning in Britain, France, and the Dutch Republic, 1690-1750: Beyond the Ancients and the Moderns (Oxford, 2020). History of Humanities 6.2 (2021): 696-699. Available here.

Luca Scholz, Borders and Freedom of Movement in the Holy Roman Empire (Oxford: 2020). H-Soz Kult Online. Available here.

Karen Hollewand, The Banishment of Beverland. Sex, Sin, and Scholarship in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic (Leiden, 2019). Early Modern Low Countries 4.2 (2020): 263-266. Available here.

Hannah Murphy, A New Order of Medicine. The Rise of Physicians in Reformation Nuremberg (Pittsburgh, 2019). H-Soz Kult Online. Available here.