WMU medieval historian to be honored as an emerging scholar

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of Dr. Luigi Andrea Berto.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A Western Michigan University medieval historian who has carved out an international reputation for his body of new scholarship will be honored by the University as an emerging scholar.

Dr. Luigi Andrea Berto, associate professor of history, will be honored with the Emerging Scholar Award during a 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, campuswide awards ceremony during WMU's Academic Convocation in Dalton Center Recital Hall. The event will feature WMU President John M. Dunn's State of the University address as well as the presentation of several other campuswide awards, including the WMU Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Distinguished Teaching Award recipients and those being honored with Distinguished Service Awards and Make a Difference Awards.

'Remarkable research'

Dr. Berto's research productivity has been described as remarkable for both its quantity and quality, and in the past seven years, he has produced two books of original historical interpretation and scholarly editions and translations of medieval Latin texts. His books include a revised and expanded English version of his award-winning Italian book, "The Social and Political Vocabulary of John the Deacon's 'Istoria Veneticorum'" as well as the newly published "In Search of the First Venetians: Prosopography of Early Medieval Venice."

In terms of edition and translations, he has produced a monograph edition of the chronicle of "Erchempert, Storia dei Longobardi di Benevento," while he has completed the manuscript of another on "Italian Carolingian Historical and Poetic Texts," currently under review. He also has produced 15 articles in highly ranked journals.

His department's high regard of his output is shared by experts outside WMU.

"External reviewers, all of whom are leading authorities in Dr. Berto's field and working in the finest universities in the United States and Britain, praised the rigor of his scholarship and highlighted how his contributions have shaped his field of study," noted one nominator. "All of them emphasized that his critical editions of important sources enable a revisionist history of medieval Italy that is sorely needed."

'Outstanding productivity'

"It must be stated at the outset that Dr. Berto's scholarly productivity is outstanding," wrote a noted scholar. " … Dr. Berto reveals himself as a careful editor and fluid translator."

Wrote another reviewer, "Professor Berto demonstrates creativity not just by deciphering the unyielding sources, but also by recomposing the fragments to create a coherent picture of early medieval Venetian literary culture. … Professor Berto in sum is an unusual historian. He is an Italian who studies far more than his own back yard (or city), but ranges widely across the peninsula to analyze historiographical texts from north and south."

Dr. Luigi Andrea Berto

Berto received his doctoral degree in European history in 2001 and bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Venice. He joined the WMU faculty as an assistant professor in 2007. He served post-doctoral fellowships at several universities, including Rutgers University and the University of Padua in Italy, and was a visiting professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton and at the University of Michigan.

He has a lengthy list of grants and fellowships to his credit, including two Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Grants, and has written nearly 20 refereed journal articles and delivered nearly a dozen invited lectures and presentations at leading institutions.

Emerging Scholar Award program

The Emerging Scholar Award program was launched late in 2006 to acknowledge the accomplishments of WMU faculty members who are among the rising stars in U.S. higher education. It is designed to celebrate the contributions of faculty members who are in the first decade of their careers at WMU and who, by virtue of their contributions to scholarship or creative activity, have achieved national recognition and demonstrated outstanding promise to achieve renown in their continuing work. The award goes to scholars nominated for consideration through a campuswide selection process and carries a $2,000 cash prize.

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