Curriculum Vita - March 15, 2017
Joseph A. Amato is married, has four children and five grandchildren. He walks riverbanks, with and without a fishing pole, and prefers solitary prairie golf courses when a breeze up. As he ages he spends increasing time meditating on his and his wife’s migrations from the Carpathian mountains, the hills of western Sicily, Acadia, central England, Ireland, West Prussia, and yet other places that compass the world and generalize the human heart.
Amato, born on the eastside of Detroit, Michigan, received his B.A. in History from the University of Michigan in 1960; his M.A. in History from the Université de Laval, Québec, in 1963, and Ph.D. in History from the University of Rochester, New York, in 1970. His undergraduate education was formed, as we read in his memoir Bypass and a recent article in Modern Age on Stephen Tonsor, the philosophy of history and German historicism, while his graduate study was directed by Hayden White and inspired by master nineteenth-century European history, A. W. Salomone. His dissertation, published as Mounier and Maritain: A French Catholic Modern World, was on the sources and plight of contemporary French Catholic thought in the first half of the twentieth century. He also did post-doctoral study in the history of European cultures with Professor Eugen Weber at U.C.L.A. in 1975-1976 and became a long-time friend of the latter until his death in 2008.
In 1969 Amato began teaching at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) in Marshall, Minnesota where he was a founder and chair of the History Department. He taught a range of courses in European intellectual and cultural history and historiography, with a particular interest in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, German, Italian, and French histories and European rural life, as well as taught ethics and introductory social science courses.
Amato has given countless lectures and talks on a variety of subjects in the region, throughout the state, Midwest, and at national conferences. Reading and speaking a variety of European languages—Italian, French, Russian, Spanish, and German (and some Biblical Greek)— Amato is widely traveled in Western Europe from the British Isles and the Netherlands to southern Italy, Greece, and Sicily.
A known local, regional, and state speaker and innovator in understanding place and the transformation of everyday rural life, in 2003 Amato was honored as a Friend of the Humanities by the Minnesota Humanities Commission and as Prairie Star by the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Council. He served as an editor and advisor of Historically Speaking, reviewed regularly for the Journal of Social History and Modern Age. Amato won the Minnesota Humanities Prize for Literature in 2005.
Sources, Papers, and Materials
Amato's papers and materials held in the Literary Manuscripts Collection, Elmer Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, located at 213 Andersen Library_222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Additional biographical sources are held at Southwest Minnesota State's History Center and University Archives
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