Adam Beaver is a historian of late medieval and early modern Spain. His research focuses primarily on Spaniards’ interactions with the Levant, both real and imaginary. His dissertation, entitled “A Holy Land for the Catholic Monarchy,” examined Spanish scholars’ appropriation of the history and imagery of the ancient and modern Near East for the purpose of forging a collective identity for their new Renaissance monarchy. In the broadest sense, his scholarship aims to generate a richer and more imaginative understanding of the common origins of Orientalism and nationalism—that is, how early modern Europe’s deepening contact with the wider world influenced the evolution of Western identities.
In addition to revising his dissertation for publication, he is presently working on two new projects. The first is a a study of the Italian-turned-Spanish humanist Pietro Martire d’Anghiera’s 1502 embassy to Mamluk Egypt, conducted at the behest of Spain’s Catholic Monarchs. Part of a larger survey of early modern Europeans’ attempts to write the history of the ancient Near East, the Martire project questions Edward Saïd’s controversial sketch of the origins of Orientalism. The second project, which stems from his interest in the development of Spanish national identity, is a book-length intellectual biography of the enlightened Catalán historian/reformer Antoni de Capmany (1742–1813). An ultra-nationalist historian from the cultural periphery of a global monarchy, Capmany is a study in the contradictions that shaped Spain’s prolonged transition to modernity.
Prior to joining the faculty at Princeton, Prof. Beaver was the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies in History at Harvard University, where he also received his A.B. (2000), A.M. (2003), and Ph.D. (2008). He also holds an M.St. (2001) from the University of Oxford.