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The Northern Renaissance in Vienna: Imperialism and Orientalism in the Writings of Johannes Cuspinian

Andrew Thomas
Dr. Andrew Thomas

My new book project, tentatively titled “The Northern Renaissance in Vienna: Imperialism and Orientalism in the Writings of Johannes Cuspinian,” focuses on Johannes Cuspinian (1473-1529), a German-Austrian Renaissance humanist polymath trained in medicine, who exemplified the connections between medicine and the liberal arts during the Renaissance. As dean of the college of medicine, one-time rector, and later life-long imperial curator for the University of Vienna as well as imperial prefect for the city of Vienna, Cuspinian gained fame for his involvement with medicine, literature, history, and court diplomacy for Habsburg rulers. However, despite Cuspinian’s significant influence, there has been very little scholarship on his life and works. Indeed, Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, an Austrian historian, art historian and librarian, wrote the only modern biography of Cuspinian in 1959. An important scholarly lacuna I intend to fill is Cuspinian’s influence on shaping Europeans’ understanding of the Ottoman Turks. In this opening session, I will discuss the importance of Cuspinian’s mostly neglected but impactful published writings as well as his extant correspondence with prominent figures concerning the Turks. These textual sources on the Habsburg-Ottoman dynastic imperial conflicts of the sixteenth century offer a valuable venue to examine and expand our understanding of early modern Islamophobia as well as the development of an early modern form Orientalism that stereotyped Turks as barbaric tyrants.


Dr. Andrew Thomas came to Salem in 2007. He was born in Oregon, but mostly raised in the Rocky Mountains of Utah. When Dr. Thomas was a graduate student, he taught first-year German and a few history courses at Purdue University. The students and the historical ambiance of the college attracted Dr. Thomas to Salem College. Besides teaching upper-division courses in European history from ancient Greece to the present, he also teaches the world history survey courses and courses cross-listed with the health humanities major. When Dr. Thomas is not at Salem, he spends a lot of time with his family. His wife, Sarah Ann, is from Utah as well. Together they have three children. His family enjoys traveling, camping, cross-country skiing, backpacking, sailing, and bird watching.


Andrew--I miss having you teach in SCIE 107. I always kept my door cracked so I could hear your lectures. I've enjoyed hearing your talks since the very first CAE when we shared the stage! I look forward to hearing you tomorrow!

Submitted by Paula_Young on Tue, 04/11/2023 - 19:09 Permalink