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), is under contract 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.


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


"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.


“Reconstructing the Ottoman Greek World: Early Modern Ethnography in the Household of Martin Crusius.” Renaissance Quarterly 72.1 (2019): 148-93. 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).


“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).


Other Output:

Interviewed by Anthony Kaldellis for the Podcast 'Byzantium & Friends.  


"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).



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


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


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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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.


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