Professor of History and Medieval Studies
Director of Honors
Named “Minnesota Professor of the Year” for 2015 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Phil Adamo has an international reputation as a teacher and scholar. In 2006, he received Augsburg’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning, and in 2014, the award for Distinguished Contributions to Scholarship. In 2014, The Medieval Academy of America, the oldest and largest association of medievalists in the world, presented Phil with the CARA Award for Excellence in Teaching. This national award recognizes Academy members who are “outstanding teachers who have contributed to the profession by inspiring students at the undergraduate or graduate levels, or by creating innovative and influential textbooks or other materials for teaching medieval subjects.”
Phil’s current research concerns the medieval practice of ‘death-bed entry’ to monastic life. Medieval people believed that taking the monastic habit, even at the last minute, meant no time in purgatory, and a clear path to heaven. But what would happen if a knight or noblewoman who had become a religious did not immediately die, and then had a change of heart? Such occurrences were common enough that they caused many monastic orders to reconsider the practice, and to defend in court the promises and donations made to them. The practice also drew criticism from reformers and satirists, such as Gerald of Wales, who claimed that the entrants were insincere and the monasteries that accepted them were simply greedy.
Phil has also written extensively on the thirteenth-century, French monastic order known as the Caulites. His dissertation on the formation of the Caulite Order won the Ohio Academy of History Dissertation Award in 2001. His book, New Monks in Old Habits: The Formation of the Caulite Monastic Order, 1193-1267, was published in 2014 by the Pontifical Institute of Medieaval Studies in Toronto. He collaborated with Joseph H. Lynch on the second edition of The Medieval Church: A Brief History (Routledge, 2013). He has also published articles in Cîteaux; Teaching History; Revue Mabillon; The Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage; The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writings; and the customizable class reader Exploring the European Past.
Since 2015, Phil is the Director of Augsburg’s nationally recognized Honors Program. He is also working with students on a history of Augsburg to celebrate the College’s sesquicentennial.
- B.A. SUNY-Albany
- M.A. The Ohio State University
- Ph.D. The Ohio State University