Director of Medieval Studies Helmut Reimitz Honored by Phi Beta Kappa

June 1, 2021

Helmut Reimitz, Professor of History and Director of the Program in Medieval Studies is honored by the Princeton University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa with an award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

Senior history concentrator Elizabeth Bailey describes Helmut Reimitz as “a living embodiment of the idea that we are all students for life.” Whether in class, during office hours, or at bi-weekly meetings organized by Reimitz as a forum for professors to share their work with junior and senior history concentrators, he exhibits — and inspires students with — his enthusiasm for learning and teaching.

“Professor Reimitz treats his students like his peers,” said Bailey. “In seminar, he once shared his own unpublished manuscript and solicited our feedback, pulling back the curtain on the academic process to a group of awestruck undergraduates.”

Bailey first met Reimitz while taking his seminar “Law after Rome,” and worked closely with him while earning a certificate in medieval studies. A scholar of the early Middle Ages, Reimitz strives to make medieval studies a more inclusive field. Last year, he launched a series of online seminars called “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Middle Ages and Medieval Studies,” which focus on how critical race theory contributes to the study of the medieval period. He “breathes new life into a field that is often thought of as stuffy and Eurocentric,” said Bailey.

A professor at Princeton since 2008, Reimitz earned his undergraduate degree and Ph.D. at the University of Vienna.

His scholarship focuses on concepts of ethnicity and the politics of identity in the early Middle Ages.

In course evaluations, students call him “engaging, funny and a true storyteller,” “a great lecturer and such a great human being” and “the kindest professor here in Princeton.”

A second award goes to Olga Russakovsky, Assistant Professor of Computer Science. The awards were presented at the virtual Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 23.

Read the full announcement on the University homepage.

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