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William Caferro

Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History; Professor of Classical and Mediterranean Studies

William Caferro studies medieval European history, specializing in Italy. His research focuses on economic, military, social, literary and historiographical trends. Caferro is author of Mercenary Companies and the Decline of Siena (Johns Hopkins, 1998), John Hawkwood, English Mercenary in Fourteenth Century Italy (Johns Hopkins, 2006), which won the Otto Grundler Prize from the International Medieval Congress (2008), Contesting the Renaissance (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) and Petrarch's War: Florence and the Black Death in Context (Cambridge, 2018). He is co-author of The Spinelli: Fortunes of a Renaissance Family (Penn State, 2001), co-editor of The Unbounded Community: Papers in Christian Ecumenism in Honor of Jaroslav Pelikan (Routledge, 1996) and editor of The Routledge History of the Renaissance (Routledge, 2017). 

Caferro’s articles have appeared in Speculum, Dante Studies, The Journal of Modern History, The Journal of Economic History, Società e storia, The Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, Common Knowledge, among others. His research has been supported by fellowships from Villa I Tatti (Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies), the Institute for Advanced Study, the Italian Academy for Advanced Study (Columbia University) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is currently a member of the Deputazione di Storia Patria di Toscana and l'Associazione di Studi Storici Elio Conti in Italy and is serving a term (2017-2019) on the Executive Council of the Dante Society of America.

Professor Caferro teaches surveys of Western Civilization and medieval Europe, and upper level courses in pre-modern European economic history and a graduate class on historiography. Caferro is recipient of the Undergraduate Outstanding Teacher Award at the University of Tulsa (1997), the Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Teaching at Vanderbilt (2002) and Graduate Teaching Award for the School of Arts and Sciences at Vanderbilt 2016).

His current book project examines the intersection among war, culture and economy in Florence from 1337 to 1402.