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Dr. Jonathan A. Reid
Associate Professor

Phone: 252-328-2558
Office: Brewster A-306
Email: reidj@ecu.edu

Jonathan Reid is a historian of late medieval and early modern Europe whose research focuses on the intellectual, religious, social, political, and diplomatic history of sixteenth-century France. After taking an A.B. with honors in European History at the University of Chicago, he completed graduate training and a Ph.D. with distinction under the direction of Heiko A. Oberman (†) at the University of Arizona (2001). There, he studied Medieval History with Alan E. Bernstein and Renaissance History with Donald Weinstein. While conducting dissertation research in Paris, he attended Bernard Roussel’s seminars on the French Reformation at the École pratique des Hautes Études. He enjoyed a stimulating year (2001–2002) as a post-doctoral research fellow on the University of St. Andrews’ “Sixteenth Century French Book Project” under the direction of Andrew Pettegree. Since 2002, he has taught History at East Carolina University. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008.

Reid’s monograph, King’s Sister – Queen of Dissent: Marguerite of Navarre (1492–1549) and her Evangelical Network, reconstructs for the first time the collective career of a prominent group of évangéliques whose members, under the guidance of Francis I’s sister, Marguerite, attempted, but failed, to bring about renewal of the French Church along ‘Protestant’ theological lines.  Nevertheless, they thereby played an important role in shaping the political and religious developments in France as well as to a lesser degree in early Reformation Europe. His article, “Evangelical Networks in France (1520–1555): Proto-churches?” offers a new hypothesis –to be tested in his next monograph (see below) – that progressive clerics both spread and contained within the Catholic church evangelical doctrines, fostering the formation of clandestine evangelical communities out of which would emerge fully formed Reformed (Calvinist) churches in the few years after 1555.

Currently he is working on several projects related to the development of religious dissent in France. His next monograph, Reformation in the French Cities, 1520–1563,  attempts to provide the first comprehensive  account of the impact of indigenous evangelical and foreign Protestant reformation movements in France’s towns and burgs in the forty-year build up to the outbreak of religious civil war in 1562. Arguably one of the largest communal Reformation movements in Europe (10% of France’s sixteen to twenty million people joined Reformed Church despite severe persecution), these “Huguenots” were initially heavily concentrated in France’s cities. Based on analysis of archival sources of six important early centers of religious dissent (Amiens, Rouen, Le Mans, Bourges, Poitiers, and Le Puy-en-Velay) and comparison with urban histories of dozens more, this study seeks to: answer how religious reform spread and attracted adherents; account for why such dissenters aspiring for reform long remained within the church; assess the influence of the major reformer, John Calvin, who, contrary to received interpretations seems for a long time to have retarded the growth of separatist Reformed churches in France on the Genevan model rather than to have spurred them on; and explain how and why this persecuted minority movement rapidly transformed in the short period from 1555 to 1562 into a well-organized, militant force in the build up to the first of the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598). 

Reid is also completing work on several articles, three commissioned for press, on aspects of Marguerite of Navarre, her network, and their literary contribution to Renaissance and Reformation letters. One of these, “Caught Between the Confessional Fronts: Religious Dissent in France, 1520–1550,” explores how French Evangelicals, while suffering stiff persecution, sought to transcend the growing confessional conflict between intransigent Catholics and Protestants, all the while promoting an essentially evangelical (Protestant) doctrinal agenda.

He has been the recipient of several awards including a Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Research Grant (1995–1996), a Bourse Chateaubriand from the French Government (1997–1998), the Carl S. Meyer Prize from the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference for the best paper read by a young scholar (2006), and five major research grants from East Carolina University (2004–2010). In 2011, he became Assistant Editor of the journal, Explorations in Renaissance Culture. Submissions are most welcome!

Major Publications

King’s Sister – Queen of Dissent: Marguerite of Navarre (1492–1549) and her Evangelical Network, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2009)
“Marguerite de Navarre, la sœur fidèle,” in Les conseillers de François Ier, ed. Cédric Michon, 415–437 (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2011)
“French Evangelical Networks to 1555: Proto-churches?” in La Réforme en France et en Italie: Contacts, comparaisons et contrastes, ed. Philip Benedict, Silvana Seidel Menchi, and Alain Tallon, Collection de l’École française de Rome 384 (Rome: École française de Rome, 2007), 105–124
 “France,” in The Reformation World, ed. Andrew Pettegree (London: Routledge Press, 2000), 211–224

Works in Progress

Reformation in the French Cities, 1520–1563
Co-edited with Luc Deitz and Tim Kircher, Neo-Latin and the Humanities: Essays in Honor of Charles Fantazzi, (forthcoming)
“The Suppressed Epigrammata of Nicolas Bourbon,” in Neo-Latin and the Humanities: Essays in Honor of Charles Fantazzi, (forthcoming)
“Marguerite de Navarre and Reform,” chapter commissioned for A Companion to Marguerite de Navarre, ed. Mary McKinley and Gary Ferguson, Brill’s Companions to The Christian Tradition (Leiden: Brill, projected 2013)
“Caught Between the Confessional Fronts: Religious Dissent in France, 1520–1550”  Winner of the Carl S. Meyer Prize from the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, this paper is being revised for submission to the Sixteenth Century Journal

Teaching Interests and Courses Taught

Dr. Reid enjoys teaching undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of fields, from an introductory course on World Civilizations, through topical courses in Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation histories, to an advanced seminar on theory and methods for masters students. He also teaches in the Great Books, Honors, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies programs, and is a member of the Classical Studies Program. He has supervised two Bachelors honors papers and four Masters theses in Medieval and Early Modern history and served as a reader on eight others in Classical, Medieval, and Maritime history.

HIST 1030 – World Civilizations to 1600
MRST 2500 – Introduction to Renaissance and Reformation Studies
HNRS 2316 – Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar in Social Sciences
GRBK2400 – Great Books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance
HIST 3413 – A History of Christianity since 1300
HIST 3420 – Early Modern Europe to 1648
MRST 5000 – Medieval and Renaissance France
HIST 5350 – The Renaissance in European History
HIST 5360 – The Reformation
HIST 6920 – European History Seminar