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Teofilo Ruiz

Distinguished Research Professor

Contact Information

Office  7379 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-825-3194

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A student of Joseph R. Strayer at Princeton, Teo Ruiz is a scholar of the social and popular cultures of late medieval and early modern Spain and the Western Mediterranean. He joined the history department at UCLA in 1998, received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008, and was selected the Faculty Research lecturer for 2011-12.  Prior to this appointment, he taught at Brooklyn College, the CUNY Graduate Center, the University of Michigan, the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris), and at Princeton, as the 250th Anniversary Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching.  He received a National Humanities Medal for 2011 in 2012 from President Obama for his “inspired teaching and writing.” He received a doctor honoris causa from the Universidad de Cantabria (Spain) in 2017. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013. In 1994, CASE and the Carnegie Foundation selected Ruiz as one of four U.S. Professors of the Year.  He is the recipient of fellowships from the NEH, the Mellon Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), the ACLS, and the Guggenheim Foundation. 


Teo, as he liked to be known, served as a member of the AHA Teaching and Research (as Vice president for Research) Divisions and as member of the AHA Council. He was P.I. for a California History, Social Sciences project to create a 7th grade lesson plans on global sites of encounter. These lessons plans are now taught in California public schools.


Among his most recent books are The Terror of History; Crisis and Continuity:  Land and Town in Late Medieval Castile (Premio Del Rey Prize, American Historical Association); Spanish Society, 1400-1600; From Heaven to Earth: The Reordering of Castilian Society in the Late Middle Ages, 1150-1350; Medieval Europe and the World; Spain, 1300-1469:  Centuries of Crises; and A King Travels: Festive Traditions in Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain  (2012). His Spanish Society, 1348-1700, 2nd revised edition appeared in 2017. His The Western Mediterranean and the World: ca. 500 to the Present appeared in early 2018.      

"I hope to be able to work closely with students and to help in providing a scholarly and nurturing environment for graduate studies in medieval history at UCLA."


PhD, Princeton 1974,

MA, New York University, 1970

BA, The City College of the City of New York, 1969


Carnegie Foundation, Outstanding Teacher of the Year, 1994-95
AHA Premio del Rey for the best book in Spanish History before 1536. 1995


Elected to the American Academy of Arts ad Sciences, 2013
Elected as a fellow by the Medieval Academy of America, 2012
PBK Visiting lecturer, 2011-13
The National Humanities Medal, 2011-12
Guggenheim Fellow, 2007-2008
250th Anniversary Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching, Princeton 1997-98; Premio del Rey, the American Historical Association Biennial Award for the best book on Spanish History, January 1995; Chosen as "Outstanding Master's Universities and Colleges Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1994-95; Director of Studies, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France), January 1993, 1987, 1983; The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, 1983-84; NEH Fellowship, 1983-84.

Selected Publications

Books: A sample

A King Travels: Festive Traditions in Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain (Princeton University Press, 2012)

Diario de la expedicion de Fray Junipero Serra...en 1769, co-edited with Anglel Encinas (Madrid, 2011)

The Terror of History (Princeton University Press, 2011).

Spain, 1300-1469. Centuries of Crises. (Oxford: Blackwell Press, 2007)

Medieval Europe and the World (with Robin Winks Oxford, 2005)

From Heaven to Earth: The Reordering of Castilian Society, 1150-1350 (Princeton University Press, 2004)

Spanish Society, 1400-1600 (Longman, 2001)

Crisis and Continuity: Land and Town in Late Medieval Castile (University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, 1994)

The City and the Realm: Burgos and Castile in the Late Middle Ages (London: Variorum Reprints, 1992)

Co-author, Burgos en la Edad Media (Valladolid, 1984)

Sociedad y poder real en Castilla (Barcelona, 1981)

Co-editor of Order and Innovation in the Middle Ages: Essays in Honor of Joseph R. Strayer (Princeton, N.J., 1976).

Selected Articles: 

"The Business of Salvation: Property and Charity in Late Medieval Castile," in Essays in Honor of Joseph F. O'Callaghan (Brill: Leiden, 1998), 63-89

"Límites: De la comunidad a la nación en la Castilla bajomedieval," in Anuarios de estudios medievales, 27/1 (1997), 23-41

"The Peasantries of Iberia, 1400 - 1800," in The Peasantries of Europe. From the Fourteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries, ed. Tom Scott (Longman: London, 1998), 49-73

"Women, Work and Daily Life in Late Medieval Castile," in Women at Work in Spain: From the Middle Ages to Early Modern Times, ed. M. Stone and C. Benito-Vessels (New York, 1998), 101-20

"Propietat i llengua: Canvis d valors a la Castella medieval," L'Avenç, 213 (abril 1997), 63-7; "Teaching as Subversion," in Inspiring Teaching: Carnegie Professors of the Year Speak, ed. John K. Roth (Jaffrey, NH: Anker, 1996), 158-165.

Plus over thirty additional articles and over seventy reviews in Annales, E.S.C., Past & Present, and other journals.

Graduate Students

Claire Gilbert
Kathryn Renton
Carrie Sanders
Antonio Zaldivar