Teofilo Ruiz

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Teofilo Ruiz
Teofilo F. Ruiz.jpg
Prof. Teofilo F. Ruiz
Havana Cuba March 2012
Photo by Scarlett Freund
Born Teofilo Fabian Ruiz
(1943-01-02) January 2, 1943 (age 71)
Alma mater City College of NY
New York University
Princeton University

Teofilo F. Ruiz (born 1943) is a Cuban-American medieval historian and professor, currently at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Early life[edit]

Born in Cuba, Ruiz was active during the Cuban Revolution. At age of 17, he fought against the regime of Fulgencio Batista. When his friend was killed in 1960, he resigned from the revolution and was immediately imprisoned. Ruiz was eventually released after the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961) in order to make room for new prisoners of war.

In 1961, Ruiz left Cuba for Miami with "only three changes of clothing, $45, a box of Cuban cigars to sell and a Spanish translation of Jacob Burckhardt's A History of Greek Civilization." By 1962, Ruiz and two cousins moved from Miami to New York City. He worked at various jobs including as a taxi driver for one year. Despite many obstacles, Ruiz finished his dissertation in the Graduate School of Princeton University by 1974.

Professional background[edit]

Ruiz was a student of American medievalist Joseph R. Strayer and received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1974. He has taught at Brooklyn College, the CUNY Graduate Center, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and Princeton University—as 250th Anniversary Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching—before going to UCLA in July 1998. In 1994 he was selected by the Carnegie Foundation as one of the four Outstanding Teachers of the Year in the United States. He served as chair of the UCLA Department of History from 2002-2005. He has lectured in the USA, Spain, Italy, France, England, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

In 2007, Ruiz was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his project on festivals, rituals, and power in late medieval and early modern Spain.

In 2008, Ruiz was named chair of the UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

On February 13, 2012 President Barack Obama awarded Ruiz the 2011 National Humanities Medal at the White House.

He has published many books as well as dozens of articles in scholarly journals as well as reviews and smaller articles.


  • Medieval Europe and the World : From Late Antiquity to Modernity, 400-1500 (2005) ISBN 0-19-515693-5
  • From Heaven to Earth: The Reordering of Castilian Society in the Late Middle Ages (2004) ISBN 0-691-00121-9
  • Spanish Society, 1400-1600 (Social History of Europe) (2002) ISBN 0-582-28691-3
  • Crisis and Continuity: Land and Town in Late Medieval Castile (1994) ISBN 0-8122-3228-3
  • The City and the Realm: Burgos and Castile 1080-1492 (1992) ISBN 0-86078-329-4
  • Medieval Spain, 711-1492 ISBN 1-57524-052-1
  • Medieval Europe: Crisis and Renewal. Course No. 863 The Teaching Company ISBN 1-56585-710-0
  • The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition. Course No. 893 The Teaching Company, 2002
  • Other 1492: Ferdinand, Isabella, and the Making of an Empire. Course No. 899 The Teaching Company

See also[edit]

External links[edit]