Chair, Science of the Human Past
On leave 2022-2023
Born on the banks of the Erie Canal, McCormick received his Ph.D. from the Université catholique de Louvain in 1979. He served on the faculty of the Department of History of the Johns Hopkins University from 1979 to 1991, and was Research Associate at Dumbartons Oaks from 1979 to 1987. He came to Harvard in 1991, where he is presently the Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History and chairs the new University-wide Initiative for the Science of the Human Past at Harvard (SoHP), an interdisciplinary research networks that brings together geneticists, archaeological scientists, climatologists, environmental, computer and information scientists, humanists and social scientists in order to explore great questions of human history from our origins in Africa to our migrations across the globe.
He has written numerous monographs and articles, including Origins of the European Economy. Communications and Commerce, A.D. 300-900 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.; 2001) which won the Haskins Medal 2005 of the Medieval Academy of America, was short-listed for the British Academy Book Award (best non-fiction book published in the UK, 2002) and won the Ranki Prize of the Economic History Association for the best book of 2001 and 2002 in European economic history. His most recent book is Charlemagne’s Survey of the Holy Land: Wealth, Personnel and Buildings of a Mediterranean Church between Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Dumbarton Oaks-Harvard University Press, 2011).
McCormick has been awarded fellowships by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte, Frankfurt-am-Main, Commission internationale d'histoire médiévale, etc. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation honored him with its Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002. He is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, the American Philosophical Society, the Society of Antiquaries, London, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Corresponding Member of Académies des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres de l’Institut de France, and of the Monumenta Germaniae historica
He is general editor of the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations and its innovative free data distribution site. His current research interests focus on developing new archaeological, scientific and textual approaches to the fall of the Roman Empire.
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