William Theiss

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Princeton

Area of Specialty

Early modern Europe; Renaissance and Reformation Germany; Holy Roman Empire


I study the cultural, social, and intellectual history of Central Europe in the period 1500-1800. My dissertation, which I defended in August 2023, is a history of how the sacred books of names kept by village churches in the Holy Roman Empire (Kirchenbücher) became pillars of the administrative state. Central to this research are the history and sociology of collective memory, the history of religious practice and secularization, the history of manuscript literary culture, and the history of state formation.

My teaching ranges from Mediterranean antiquity to the global history of the early modern period, including the Latin and ancient Greek languages. Currently I am revising my dissertation as a book with the tentative title The Registration of Souls in Central Europe and researching a second book, which is a new history of Stoicism in the German Counter-Reformation. My other interests include: the history of Greek art criticism, early modern French literature, and German literature from the baroque to the twentieth century.

I received a BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2016, an MPhil in Early Modern History from the University of Cambridge in 2017, and a PhD in History from Princeton University in 2023. From 2020-2021 I was a DAAD student in German Studies at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. My research has also been supported by the Gates Foundation and the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies.


The Abbé d’Aubignac’s Homer and the Culture of the Street in Seventeenth-Century Paris,” Journal of the History of Ideas 84 (2023): 77-102.

“A Florentine Looks at Florence: Piero Cennini on the Baptistery and the Feast of St John.” Co-authored with Anthony Grafton. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 85 (2022): 25-69. [link here: A Florentine Looks at Florence: Piero Cennini on the Baptistery and the Feast of St John*: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes: Vol 85 (uchicago.edu)]

Conrad Peutinger’s Treatise on Greek Art Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 82 (2019): 159-194.

Assistant professor of history, William Theiss
Contact Information
Mailing Address241 Glenbrook Road, U-4103, Storrs CT 06269
Office LocationWood Hall, Rm 322
CampusCampus: Storrs
Office HoursSpring 2024: Tue 2-4pm and by appointment