Robert Clines

Robert John Clines is Assistant Professor of History at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He received his Ph.D. in History from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. His research interests center on the Italian Renaissance, early modern Catholicism, and religious culture in the early modern Mediterranean World. His current book project, ‘The Culture of Conversion,’ follows the missionary career of Giovanni Battista Eliano (1530-1589), the only Jewish-born member of the Society of Jesus. The book explores how religious conversion was more than a moment of crossing or a process of belonging, but was a complex and pervasive cultural problem that forced converts and non-converts alike to grapple with their own unsettling religious identities and to articulate where they stood vis-à-vis their respective religious identities as well as one another. In turn, this preoccupation with conversion and how it impacted the construction of religious identities centered on more than institutional forces that promoted conformity, but allowed for a wide array of confessional self-representations. His research has been funded by the Early Modern Conversions Project, the Fondazione Lemmermann, a J. William Fulbright Scholarship, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.