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Personal profile

Biography

Nicholas Baker is an historian of the political and economic cultures of early modern Europe, with particular interests in Renaissance Italy and the use of visual sources in historical research. He has published on the political culture of Florence between the end of the republic and the creation of the Medici principality, and on the cultures of financial risk taking in Renaissance Italy, both commercial and ludic. He is currently completing a cultural history that explores how Renaissance Italians thought about the future and, in particular, how ideas about the future changed around the turn of the sixteenth century. It explores understandings about the power of fortuna in human lives and ways these beliefs interacted with ideas about providence and human ability in the realms of commerce and gambling.  He continues to maintain an interest in and work on the political culture of Florence during the sixteenth century and on the cultural, political, and economic connections between the city and the Spanish world. As part of this interest, he is developing a new project that will produce a microhistory of globalization in the sixteenth century.

He has previously taught at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and at Northwestern University and Washington & Lee University in the United States. In 2013-14, he was the Jean-François Malle Fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy. From January to June 2018, he was a Member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

Research interests

I am currently working on a cultural history of financial risk taking and thinking about the future in sixteenth-century Italy. This project explores understandings about the power of fortuna in human lives and ways these beliefs interacted with ideas about providence and human ability in the realms of commerce and gambling. I also continue to maintain an interest in and work on the political culture of Florence during the sixteenth century and cultural connections between the Medici court and the Spanish world.

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  • 3 Similar Profiles
sixteenth century Social Sciences
narrative Social Sciences
carnival Social Sciences
wedding Social Sciences
humanism Social Sciences
retaliation Social Sciences
accused Social Sciences
honor Social Sciences

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Projects 2009 2018

Research Outputs 2006 2020

Florence in the early modern world: new perspectives

Baker, N. S. (ed.) & Maxson, B. J. (ed.), 2020, London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. 279 p. (Themes in Medieval and Early Modern History)

Research output: Book/ReportEdited Book/AnthologyResearchpeer-review

Modernity
Florence
Modern Cities
Merchants
Neighbors

"Tutto il mondo è paese": locating Florence in premodern Eurasian commerce

Baker, N. S., 2020, Florence in the early modern world: new perspectives. Baker, N. S. & Maxson, B. J. (eds.). London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, p. 50-67 18 p. (Themes in Medieval and Early Modern History).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

Where in the world is Renaissance Florence? Challenges for the history of the city after the global turn

Baker, N. S. & Maxson, B. J., 2020, Florence in the early modern world: new perspectives. Baker, N. S. & Maxson, B. J. (eds.). London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, p. 1-17 17 p. (Themes in Medieval and Early Modern History).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

Creating a shared past: the representation of Medici–Habsburg relations in the wedding celebrations for Eleonora de Toledo and Cosimo I de' Medici

Baker, N. S., 1 Jun 2019, In : Renaissance Studies. 33, 3, p. 397-416 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

wedding
hegemony
political alliance
narrative
monarchy

When Christ was King in Florence: religious language and political paralysis during the Siege of Florence, 1529-30

Baker, N. S., 2017, Languages of power in Italy (1300-1600). Bornstein, D., Gaffuri, L. & Maxson, B. J. (eds.). Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, p. 215-228 14 p. (Early European Research; vol. 10).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review