Competition: US & Canada
Paolo Squatriti teaches at the University of Michigan. Despite, or maybe because of,
an intensely urban, Roman upbringing, he early developed a taste for the country,
particularly that of central Italy. Since his BA in history summa cum laude at Boston
College, he focused his studies on the rural environment. The history of the
medieval Italian countryside became his main intellectual preoccupation with his
prize-winning 1990 Virginia dissertation, Water and Society in early Medieval Italy,
published by Cambridge University Press in 1998.
After stints teaching at American universities in Rome, Bologna, and New
Haven, Paolo Squatriti reached Ann Arbor. There, working in the departments of
Romance Languages and Literatures and of History, and lately in the Program in the
Environment too, he became Professor in 2013. Two fellowships awarded by the
ACLS and others by the University of Michigan enabled his research into topics like
early medieval European earthworks, the dissemination of chestnut woods in the
first millennium AD, and postclassical climate change. His findings were published
by several American and British academic presses, by Past and Present, Speculum,
Comparative Studies in Society and History, and by other leading historical journals.
His monograph Landscape and Change in Early Medieval Italy (CUP, 2013) won a
2014 American Association for Italian Studies book award. He has been invited to
lecture on pre-industrial environmental and landscape history in Italy, Germany,
France, Canada, and the US; he has also served on panels and committees for
German, Israeli, Belgian, Hungarian, Italian, and American educational institutions.
As a Guggenheim Fellow, Paolo Squatriti will analyze the impact on plant
communities of such deeply human activities as barbarian invasions, state
formation, and conversion to Christianity.