Bonnie Effros joined the Department of History at University of Florida in August 2009. In addition to her appointment as Professor of History, she is the inaugural Rothman Chair and Director of the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere. She oversees a host of activities at the Center, including a speaker series each semester, summer grant support for faculty and graduate students in the humanities, and funding competitions for lecture series and workshops, library resources, community projects, and team-teaching in the humanities for University of Florida faculty and graduate students.
Professor Effros earned her Ph.D. in history at UCLA (1994), where she specialized in the European Middle Ages. Her dissertation, based on written and archaeological evidence for burial rites in Merovingian Gaul, offered fertile ground for her first two books: Caring for Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the Merovingian World (Penn State University Press 2002) and Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages (University of California Press 2003). Her abiding interest in ritual practice thereafter formed the basis for a series of essays on early medieval feasting and fasting published as Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul (Palgrave 2002). This research enabled her to explore pagan-Christian interactions, female and clerical ascetic practice, food rites associated with burial custom, and dietary discussions in the post-Roman West. Her work has appeared in the peer-reviewed journals: Antiquity, Early Medieval Europe, Journal of the History of Collections, Journal of Women's History, MVSE, Quaestiones Medii Aevi Novae, Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire, and Viator. She has also published chapters in the Transformation of the Roman World series (published by E. J. Brill), the supplementary series of the Reallexikon für Altertumskunde (published by Walter de Gruyter), the series Forschungen zur Geschichte des Mittelalters (published by the Austrian Academy), the Actes des Journées internationales d'Archéologie mérovingienne (published by the Association francaise d'archéologie mérovingienne) and MittelalterStudien (published by the Institut zur interdisziplinären Erforschung des Mittelalters und seines Nachwirkens at Universität Paderborn), and a variety of other edited collections.
In the last several years, Professor Effros has published Uncovering the Germanic Past: Merovingian Archaeology in France, 1830-1914 (Oxford, 2012), in which she links growing interest in the Merovingian past to the discovery of long-forgotten cemeteries uncovered during the course of the industrial revolution in France. These discoveries of “Germanic warriors” pushed the French to reconsider their national origins which could no longer be linked exclusively to the ancient Gauls. In this work, she also examines the impact of the formation of the discipline of archaeology on the collection and interpretation of material artifacts, a topic likewise tied to her current book project entitled Incidental Archaeologists: French Officers and the Rediscovery of Roman North Africa, 1830-1870. In the course of the French invasion and subsequent “pacification” of the region that became Algeria, the armée d’Afrique confiscated homes, land, and mosques from the indigenous population and massacred tribes that resisted French domination. Along with the normalization of violence against civilian inhabitants, classical monuments fared badly, being reused as fortifications or destroyed as materiel for building French barracks, roads, and hospitals. This project examines the contributions of nineteenth-century officers, who, raised on classical accounts of warfare and often trained as cartographers, developed interest in the Roman remains they encountered throughout Algeria. Linking archaeological studies of the Roman past to French narratives of the Algerian occupation, the project examines how Roman archaeology helped foster a new identity for military and civilian settlers and examines the close entanglement of classical studies with politics in colonial and metropolitan France.
Professor Effros previously taught at the University of Alberta, where she held an Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of History and Classics, at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in the Department of Historical Studies, and at Binghamton University, where she served as chair of the Department of History. Among other awards, she has received a membership in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2013-2014), the Sylvan C. Coleman and Pamela Coleman Memorial Fund Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2001-2002), the Berkshire Summer Fellowship at the Bunting Institute (now the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study) (1998), a Camargo Foundation Fellowship in Cassis, France (Fall 1997), the Franklin Research Fellowship from the American Philosophical Society (2004), as well as grants from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Munich, the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz, and the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Vienna. During the past several years she has served as a sponsored lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America and as a member of the Breasted Prize Committee of the American Historical Association, and a Councillor of the Medieval Academy of America.
Professor Effros is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Women's History. In addition, she is co-editor with Isabel Moreira (University of Utah) of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Merovingian World (Oxford 2017). She also serves as the series editor of the Brill Series on the Early Middle Ages, a continuation of the Transformation of the Roman World series published by E.J. Brill in the Netherlands. Together with Guolong Lai (University of Florida), she has organized a workshop entitled "Unmasking Ideology: The Vocabulary and Symbols of Colonial Archaeology" at the University of Florida from 8-11 January 2015. With support of the ACLS Comparative Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society Program, the Rothman Endowment of the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, the Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History Program, the UF Office of Research and the UF International Center, the workshop will bring 14 scholars from around the world to Gainesville to discuss comparative approaches to the study of colonial archaeology.