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Dr Stefan Bauer

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Honorary Research Fellow, Department of History (2021–2024)


Stefan Bauer is an intellectual and cultural historian of early modern Europe; his research interests cover humanism, religious polemic, church history, and censorship. In 2021, he was elected to the Council of the Royal Historical Society. Bauer is also a Research Associate at the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, University of York; an Honorary Research Associate at Royal Holloway, University of London; a Privatdozent at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland; a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He previously held positions as a Lecturer in Early Modern History at Royal Holloway, University of London; as a Lecturer in Early Modern History and Marie Curie Fellow in York; and as a Research Fellow both at the German Historical Institute in Rome and the Italian-German Historical Institute in Trent.



Building on my earlier work on Bartolomeo Platina’s History of the Popes, its afterlife and papal censorship, my third monograph, The Invention of Papal History: Onofrio Panvinio between Renaissance and Catholic Reform, came out with Oxford University Press in 2020. History-writing in early modern Rome is a surprisingly underexplored subject, with major open questions. Most importantly, how was the history of post-classical Rome and of the Church written in the Counter Reformation? Historical texts composed in Rome at this time have been considered secondary to the city’s significance for the history of art. My new book corrects this distorting emphasis and shows how history-writing became part of a comprehensive formation of the image and self-perception of the papacy. These new findings are situated in the context of the uneasy relationship between history and theology during the turmoil of politics and religion in the sixteenth century. The book was a finalist for the RefoRC book award 2020.

For recent audio and video interviews about this book see New Books Network and Il canale dei libri. I have also presented the book in The Spectator and The Tablet. In History Today, Peter Marshall referred to it as ‘illuminating’ and ‘judicious’.

I am a member of the expert panel of the European Commission which evaluates Marie Curie fellowship applications, and I have acted as a peer reviewer of unpublished manuscripts for Oxford University Press, Bloomsbury Academic, English Historical Review, Renaissance Quarterly, Sixteenth Century Journal, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Italian Studies, and Rivista di storia della Chiesa in Italia.

Moreover, I am a managing editor of Lias: Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and its Sources. Since 2016, I have acted as the UK Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association, which entails organizing fellows' events across universities. During my tenure, UK membership has increased from 30 to over 600. The Association has recently organised events on Equality and Diversity, Mental Health in Academia and Storytelling. Previously, we invited speakers such as the Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society.

I have achieved further impact through several activities, including exhibitions at the York Minster and the Middle Temple Library, public lectures and an extensive internet presence with two interactive digital exhibitions, a WordPress blog and Twitter feeds. I would enjoy engaging in other outreach activities, organizing, for example, events on the history of the freedom of speech or on forgeries and fakes, drawing connections to debates on post-truth. If you are interested in collaborating on any of my research themes, please do get in touch.

More detailed information about my research is available here.


Recent Publications


Reviews: ‘illuminating … this thoughtful and judicious monograph is to be welcomed for the considerable light it sheds on the confessionalisation of historiography’ (Peter Marshall, History Today); 'an exemplary monograph' (Peter Burke, English Historical Review); ‘Bauer’s volume appears in the Oxford Warburg Studies, perhaps the most prestigious English-language book series concerned with Renaissance and early modern intellectual and cultural history. … The Invention of Papal History is an admirably readable and fascinating portrait, not only of its principal subject, Panvinio, but also of the culture of late Renaissance humanism at a time of profound instability in Europe’ (Daniel Woolf, Marginalia Los Angeles Review of Books); ‘The erudition diffused across Bauer’s book is impressive and the arguments are delivered with convincing elegance … a joy to read’ (Fabien Montcher, Journal of Jesuit Studies); ‘Bauer is one of the greatest experts on early modern religious historiography’ (Vincenzo Lavenia, Il Regno); ‘insightful and enlightening ... should inform all future investigations into the historiography, and especially the religious historiography, of this period’ (William Stenhouse, Revista de historiografía); ‘a true pleasure to read’ (Jan de Jong, University of Groningen); ‘an outstanding study of one of the most important Catholic historians in early modern Europe ... This exceptional new book promises to do much to shape future work on history writing in early modern Europe’ (Crawford Gribben, New Books Network); ‘highly readable ... sketches the profile of a whole epoch, during which historical writing took up new challenges’ (Stefan Schöch, Cromohs); ‘packs a lot of punch’ (Jonathan Greenwood, Global Intellectual History); ‘There is not an ounce of excess baggage, and the scholarship is impeccable’ (Gary Ianziti, Journal of Religious History); ‘a valuable contribution to our knowledge of a period of historiography that has traditionally fallen in the gap between the Renaissance and Cesare Baronio’s Annales ecclesiastici’ (Sam Kennerley, Reformation); ‘should be praised for its clarity, in-depth research and useful reflection on the complicated past’ (Jennifer Mara DeSilva, LSE Review of Books); ‘an insightful reevaluation of an important protagonist of the religious and cultural history of post-Reformation Catholicism’ (Stefania Tutino, Church History); ‘an extremely well-researched study and the definitive work on Panvinio’ (Massimo Faggioli, Theologische Revue); ‘An impressive work. Stefan Bauer has scoured the European libraries and archives with extraordinary competence and thoroughness ... It will remain a major contribution’ (Alastair Hamilton, Church History and Religious Culture). Finalist for the RefoRC (Reformation Research Consortium) book award 2020.

Reviews: ‘beautifully produced, impeccably researched and presented ... a scholarly tool essential for investigating the intersection of late-Renaissance ideas and practices with those of the Catholic Reformation’ (Donald Kagay, Sixteenth Century Journal); ‘an excellent book on an important humanist, his rewriting of papal history, and the reception and censorship of this highly influential and often scandalous work’ (Anthony D’Elia, Renaissance Quarterly); ‘fascinating’ (Simon Ditchfield, Catholic Historical Review).


Public Engagement:

Recent Reviews:

Press Coverage



  • ‘Europe in the Making, 1450–1800’, Year 1
  • ‘The Elizabethan Reformation’, Year 3, convenor
  • ‘Themes in Early Modern History, c.1450–c.1800’, MA
  • ‘Themes and Approaches in the Historical Study of Religious Cultures’, MA, convenor

My teaching ranges across several periods, with particular attention to the early modern era. Both my research and teaching place an emphasis on transnational history. I believe that the best way to get students to engage with history is to offer them courses which encourage them to view what they are studying in a comparative perspective. My teaching philosophy is informed not only by the intensive experience of university teaching in different educational environments but also by rigorous reflection on my pedagogical practice. I have completed a portfolio for the York Professional and Academic Development Scheme and have been awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), which certifies a proven, sustained and successful track record in university teaching.

I have recently taught at Royal Holloway, University of London (2019–20); London School of Economics and Political Science (2018–19); University of York (2015–18); Warburg Institute, University of London (2014–19); and University of California, Rome (2017).


Twitter - @BauerStefan @histheol opens in a new window

Website - opens in a new window

Digital exhibitions: opens in a new window