Our Faculty

Richard S. Mackenney




Richard Mackenney is an Englishman from Buckinghamshire. He was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School. After a Short Service Limited Commission in the Green Howards, he went up to Cambridge, where he did far too much acting, but attended classes with scholars such as Moses Finley, Walter Ullmann, Jonathan Riley-Smith and Geoffrey Elton. He won a Graduate Fellowship from the Rotary Foundation which took him to Venice, and he returned to Cambridge to work towards a doctorate on Venetian guilds under the supervision of Brian Pullan. He was for twenty-five years in Edinburgh in the Department built by Denys Hay and became Head of History and Full Professor before moving to Binghamton in 2006. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

His specialism is the Renaissance, particularly as a Venetian and as a Shakespearean phenomenon, with an emphasis on the interaction of history, literature, and the history of art. He is also greatly interested in ‘mercantilism’ in economic history, and in the history of historical writing. His publications include Tradesmen and Traders, Sixteenth-Century Europe and Renaissances. His lifetime's work, Venice as the Polity of Mercy, was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2019. He is currently working on a book on Shakespeare and the English Renaissance.

His teaching includes classes on Western Civilisation, Europe since 1500, the Renaissance as an Italian and European phenomenon, Machiavelli, the Wars of Religion, Shakespeare to Hollywood, and two classes on television series first shown in 1969 and 1985.

He is committed to the connection of the particular to the general in history, and to a comparative approach, and he believes that academic history must appeal to the intelligent laity. He loathes technology, and he has no time for ‘networks’. He has supervised ten doctorates to successful completion at the European University Institute, in Edinburgh and in Binghamton. To the best of his knowledge, every one of the holders of those degrees is in work that they wish to do. He is a widely experienced examiner. Prospective graduate students should be aware that their training with Professor Mackenney will commit them to making an original contribution to knowledge in the field and to making their own way on their own merits. Anyone interested in working with him should send an e-mail to arrange a time to speak on the telephone, and should also make contact — in strict confidence — with his pupils past and present.


  • PhD, MA, BA, University of Cambridge

Research Interests

  • Italian Renaissance
  • Renaissance Venice
  • Shakespeare and the Renaissance