History and Art History

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mack P. Holt

Mack P. Holt

Mack P. Holt


European History: Early modern Europe, especially France, the Reformation, the history of wine, the history of the book

Mack P. Holt is Professor of History and received his Ph.D in History from Emory University in 1982. Before coming to George Mason in 1989 he taught at Harvard and Vanderbilt universities. From 1998 to 2002 he was also Director of the Honors Program in General Education, and he served as the department’s Director of Graduate Studies from 2004 to 2010.

He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the political, religious, social, and cultural history of early modern Europe, ca. 1400-1800. His research focuses on France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

In 1998-1999 he was Co-President of the Society for French Historical Studies, and in 2009-2011 he was President of the Society for Reformation Research. He was also a Visiting Professor of History at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris in Spring 2005. He has held fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is also co-editor of “Changing Perspectives in Early Modern Europe,” a monograph series published by the University of Rochester Press.

Current Research

Branches of the Vine: Reformation and Culture in Early Modern Burgundy, 1477-1630 (monograph forthcoming), a study of popular religion and popular politics in the French province of Burgundy during the Reformation and Wars of Religion.

Reading the Bible in Reformation France (monograph in progress), a study of how French lay Protestants and Catholics read their Bibles in the sixteenth century, and how we can use their textual markings, underlinings, marginalia, etc. to understand what they made of the texts they read.

Working on a “History of the Book On-Line” project together with several other faculty from various departments at GMU in conjunction with the Center for History and New Media.

Selected Publications

The Duke of Anjou and the Politique Struggle During the Wars of Religion (Cambridge University Press, 1986; paperback ed. 2002)

The French Wars of Religion, 1562-1629 (Cambridge University Press, 1995; 2nd edition 2005)

(As editor) Society and Institutions in Early Modern France (University of Georgia Press, 1991)

(As editor) Renaissance and Reformation France, 1500-1650, vol. 4 of The Shorter Oxford History of France (Oxford University Press, 2002)

(As editor) Alcohol: A Social and Cultural History (Berg Publishers, 2006)

(As editor) Adaptations of Calvinism in Reformation Europe (Ashgate Publishers, 2007)

Courses Taught

HIST 305: The Renaissance

HIST 306: The Reformation

HIST 499: Senior Seminar in History: The Age of Witch Hunts

HIST 610: The Study and Writing of History

HIST 635: The History of the Book, 1400-1800

HIST 642: Humanism in the Renaissance

HIST 643: Reformation and Society

HIST 644: Social and Cultural History of Early Modern Europe

Recent Presentations

“La religion vécue en Bourgogne à la veille des guerres de religion” presented at Prato, Italy in July 2010

“On ‘The Rites of Violence’ in Sixteenth-Century France” presented at Stratford, England in June 2008 at a conference honoring Natalie Zemon Davis

Que sais-je? Religious Violence, Certainty, and Doubt in the French Wars of Religion” presented at Yale University in February 2008

“Wine, Religion, and Politics in Early Modern Burgundy” presented at Northern Illinois University in September 2007

“Henri IV et les privileges municipaux a Dijon: La politique de la réconciliation” presented in Québec, Canada in September 2006

Series of lectures at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris in Spring 2005

In the Media

Filmed by The History Channel in June 2006 for special program of Man, Moment, Machine on Leonardo Da Vinci and the invention of the wheel-lock pistol and its impact on warfare in the sixteenth century first broadcast in Fall 2006.

Filmed by The Discovery Channel in February 2007 for special program on Nostradamus and the practice of astrology in the sixteenth century, titled Decoding Nostradamus, first broadcast on September 9, 2007.