Richard Tristano is Professor of History at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, where he has taught since 1991. He teaches most of the pre-modern history courses in the department. These include courses on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation and Early Modern Europe.
His research interests have included American religious history, but have focused recently on late medieval and early modern Ferrara, Italy. He is currently working on the practice of historical writing at the Ferrarese court from the early fourteenth through the mid-eighteenth century.
Another significant interest is the thought of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, who operate Saint Mary’s University; the Lasallian university; and Lasallian pedagogy.
Early Modern Europe
Renaissance Ferrarese/Estensi History
The Lasallian university
Courses Taught Recently at SMU
Europe and the World
Perspectives on the Good Human Life
The Early Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages
Early Modern Europe
Historical Research and Writing I
Historical Research and Writing II
American Historical Association
Renaissance Society of America
Society for Italian Historical Studies
Ph.D. in History, New York University, 1983. Dissertation Title: "Ferrara in the Fifteenth Century: Borso d'Este and the Creation of a New Nobility"
M.A. in History, New York University, 1975.
B.A. in History, Manhattan College, 1973.
1991 to Present: Professor, Department of History, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, Winona, Minnesota.
1986 - 1991: Instructor, Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Recipient J. Robert Lane Endowed Chair in the Humanities, 2006-2009.
Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois, Newberry Library Short-term Fellowship: "History 'Without Scruple': The Enlightenment Confronts The Middle Ages in the Renaissance," Summer 2000.
Summer Seminar at the American Academy, Rome, Italy, "Marvels of Rome," Summer 1999, Drs. Dale Kinney and Birgitta Lindros Wohl, Directors
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute: Culture in Crisis: Italy, 1492-1527, Dr. Albert Ascoli, Director, 1993.
"The 'Judicious Antiquarian': A Reexamination of Cinquecento Ferrarese Historiography." New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Sarasota, FL, March 11, 2010.
"Interlaced History: Matteo Maria Boiardo, Poet and Historian." 44th International Congress on 2009 Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI, May 7, 2009.
Presentation at the International Lasallian University Leadership Program: Partners in Catholic Lasallian Higher Education: Enhancing Understanding. Eliciting Commitment, June 10, 2008. "Lasallian Charism and Catholic Legacy in Our Universities: How to Apply What We Have Learned."
"Lasallian Perspectives on Global Citizenship: A Historical View." At the symposium "Global Citizenship: Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century," Winona, MN, October 30, 2008
"Lasallian Assessment: In the Footsteps of the Founder or a Badly-Put Question?" The 16th Annual Lasallian Convocation at Manhattan College, Bronx, New York, September 27, 2007
Presentation: "An Approach to Lasallian Assessment." Huether Lasallian Conference, San Francisco, December 1, 2006.
"How Ronald Witt Has Reconceptualized Ferrarese Courtly Culture." Renaissance Society of America, Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 2006
Presentation: "Oil and Water: A Historian’s Odyssey in the World of Literature." Sponsored by the English Honor Society, November 10, 2005
"Two Parts, One Whole?: The Lasallian University," Presentation to SMU faculty, March 16, 2005
"Shifting Paradigms: Reading Renaissance Ferrarese Courtly Culture through the History of Chivalry." Renaissance Society of America, Annual Meeting, New York, New York, 2004.
"Figuring Power: Borso d’Este and the Myth of Phaethon." Renaissance Society of America, Annual Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2002.
"How the Romans Viewed Christians, and Who Do We Americans Resemble More?" Winona County Historical Society, March 28, 2001
"The 'Istoria imperiale' of Matteo Maria Boiardo and Fifteenth-Century Ferrarese Courtly Culture," New College Conference on Medieval-Renaissance Studies, Sarasota, Florida, March 9, 2000.
"The Liberal Arts, the University, and the Lasallian Educational Mission," Listening, 45 (Winter 2010).
"Reading Boiardo: On Chivalry, Text, and Context," Allegorica 26 (2009/2010): 5-43.
"The Istoria imperiale of Matteo Maria Boiardo and Fifteenth-Century Ferrarese Courtly Culture," in Phaethon’s Children: The Este Court and its Culture in Early Modern Ferrara, ed. D. Looney and D. Shemek, Tempe, AZ: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2005.
"Holy Family Parish: The Genesis of an African American Catholic Community in Natchez, Mississippi," Journal of Negro History 83 (1998): 258-83.
"Microhistory and Holy Family Parish: Some Methodological Considerations," U.S. Catholic Historian 14 vol.3, Summer, 1996.
"Vassals, Fiefs, and Social Mobility in Ferrara During the Middle Ages and Renaissance," Medievalia et Humanistica vol. XV (1987): 43-64.
The Origins of the Restoration Movement: An Intellectual History (Atlanta: Glenmary Research Center, 1988).
Other Professional Experience
Chaired session, "Figuring Power: Borso d’Este and the Myth of Phaethon." Renaissance Society of America, Annual Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, April 2002.
Associate Dean of General Education, 2000-2002
Chair, History Department, 1996-2001
Organized session at American Catholic Historical Society Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, 1995
Chaired session of American Boiardo Quincentennial Conference, New York, Columbia University, 1994.