William Eamon

Regents Professor of History, Emeritus06/12/2014: NMSU Honors College dean Bill Eamon. (Photo by Darren Phillips)

Dean Emeritus of the Honors College


History of Science and Medicine
Early Modern Italy and Spain
Science in the Atlantic World
Renaissance Alchemy, Astrology, and Magic

Department of History
New Mexico State University
Box 30001 MSC 3HON
Las Cruces, NM 88003
Office: Domenici Hall, Rm 210
Office Hours: TTh 2:30-4:00 pm
Telephone: 575-646-2005
Email: weamon@nmsu.edu




PhD, History of Science, University of Kansas, 1977

MA, History, University of Montana, 1970

BA, History, University of Montana, 1968

Personal Web Site:

My personal web site, including my blog, “Labyrinth of Nature,” is at http://williameamon.com.



William Eamon, Regents Professor of History, joined the faculty of the Department of History at NMSU in 1976. His research focuses on the history of science and medicine in Renaissance Italy and Spain, and on science and popular culture in early modern Europe. He likes to view the past through the eyes of actors on the margins of intellectual life. He has written, for example, about 16th century “professor of secrets” Leonardo Fioravanti, a surgeon who founded an alternative medical movement in Renaissance Italy; about medieval and early modern astrologers, alchemists, charlatans, natural magicians, and peddlers of wonder drugs; and, in his current project, about the Spanish naturalists in the New World. Eamon is the author of Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Princeton, 1994); The Professor of Secrets: Mystery, Medicine, and Alchemy in Renaissance Italy (Washington, 2010); and over 50 articles on various aspects of early modern science and medicine. He is also the coeditor (with Victor Navarro Brotons) of Beyond the Black Legend: Spain and the Scientific Revolution / Más allá de la Leyenda Negra: España y la Revolución Científica (Valencia, 2007). Professor Eamon also serves as the Dean of the Honors College.

Professor Eamon has received numerous grants and awards for his research. In addition to having received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2 grants), the National Science Foundation (2 grants), and the Renaissance Society of America, he has was a Mellon Faculty Fellow at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin. In 1994-95, he was a Villa I Tatti Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy. In 2004-2006, Eamon held the S.P. and Margaret Manasse Research Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences; and in 2007 received NMSU’s Award for Exceptional Career Achievement in Creative Scholarly Activity. Eamon was named a Regents Professor in 2003 and Distinguished Achievement Professor in 2012.

Professor Eamon has lectured widely to both specialists and the general public. He has addressed audiences in Barcelona, Oxford, Cambridge, Florence, London, Heidelberg, Geneva, and Los Angeles; has taught at Harvard, Würzburg, and Valencia; and has lectured at UC-Berkeley, Universidad Complutense (Madrid), Indiana University, the Huntington Library, the Getty Library, the University of Michigan, Notre Dame, the University of the West Indies, and numerous other venues. In 2005, he gave the Church Memorial Lecture at Brown University.


Current Research Projects

Professor Eamon is currently working on two book projects: Science and Everyday Life in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1750 (under contract with Cambridge University Press), a book about science and popular culture in early modern Europe; and Conquistadors of Nature: How the Spanish Explorers Paved the Way to Modern Science, a book for a broad audience about the origins of scientific discovery. (More information)



Professor Eamon teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of science and medicine, the history of magic and witchcraft in medieval and early modern Europe, the Scientific Revolution, and, in the Honors College, science and religion.



On my blog, “Labyrinth of Nature,” I post occasional thoughts and reflections on various aspects of the history of Renaissance science and medicine. My blog may be found on my personal website, WilliamEamon.com.


Recent Publications

“Astrology and Society,” in A Companion to Renaissance Astrology, ed. Brendan Dooley (Brill, 2014) [Download here]

“On the Skins of Goats and Sheep: (Un)masking the Secrets of Nature in Early Modern Popular Culture,” in Visual Rhetorics of Secrecy in Early Modern Europe, ed. Tim McCall, Sean Roberts, and Giancarlo Fiorenza (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 54-75. [Download here]

“Science and Medicine in Early Modern Venice,” in Handbook of Venetian History, 1450-1797, ed. Eric Dursteler (Leiden: Brill, 2013), pp. 701-41. [Link to page proofs]

“How to Read a Book of Secrets,” in Secrets and Knowledge in Medicine and Science, 1500-1800, ed. Alisha Rankin and Elaine Leong (London: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 23-46 [Download here]

“Appearance, Artifice, and Reality: Collecting Secrets in Courtly Culture,” in The Gentleman, the Virtuoso, the Inquirer: Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa and the Art of Collecting in Early Modern Spain, ed. Mar Rey-Bueno and Miguel López-Pérez (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008). [Link]

“Masters of Fire: Italian Alchemists in the Court of Philip II,” in Chymia: Science and Nature in Early Modern Europe (1450-1750), ed. Miguel López Pérez and Didier Kahn (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), 138-56. [Link]

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