Chris Bacich is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in Medieval and Early Modern History. He is particularly interested in the relationship between mentalities and social history and the reciprocal influencest they exerted upon one another in the late Medieval and Renaissance periods. He is currently finishing his dissertation, "Dangerous Ideas: Epicureanism, Tyranny, and Materialism in the High Middle Ages," a study of the appearance and growth in popularity of accusations of philosophical materialism as a political weapon. In the thirteenth century, accusations began to appear against Emperor Frederick II of having denied the immortality of the human soul. By the early fourteenth century, such accusations became the political weapon of choice against lords, kings, and even popes. In his dissertation, Chris explores the political, economic, and intellectual developments that influenced the deployment and evolution of this political tactic. He also explores how artists, poets, and chroniclers expressed the popular preoccupations and concerns exploited by these accusations.
Chris specializes in the history of Italy, though his research spans the entirety of Latin Christendom. He has spent considerable time in numerous archives and libraries up and down the Italian peninsula.
Chris returned to Stanford University after having completed a Master degree in Medieval Studies at Columbia University, while working as a high school History teacher in New York City. In the spring of 2019, he received the Hoefer Prize, which recognizes outstanding Stanford undergraduate writing for his work as a writing instructor. He looks forward to researching and continuing his distinguished teaching career at the university level.