Spencer Weinreich

Alumni; Ph.D. 2022
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows

I am an early modernist, church historian, and carceral studies scholar, working on the history of the prison, Reformation theology, and utopian thought. I received my B.A. in history from Yale University, and my M.Phil. in theology from the University of Oxford, where I was an Ertegun Scholar.

My dissertation, “Slow Tampering: A History of Solitary Confinement,” examines theories and practices of penal isolation and unchosen solitude from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Other current projects include a witch’s prison in Counter-Reformation Germany, the economic thought of Jeremy Bentham, false messiahs and Jerusalem syndrome, and an annotated translation of John Calvin’s Traité des reliques (1543).

My work has been published in Early Science and Medicine, Names: A Journal of Onomastics, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Gothic Studies, Social History of Medicine (open access), the Journal of the History of Ideas, and History Workshop Journal, and is forthcoming in Renaissance Quarterly. My annotated translation of the Spanish Jesuit Pedro de Ribadeneyra's history of the English Reformation was published in 2017 by Brill.

For the 2020–21 academic year, I serve as a graduate student representative for the History of Science Program. Prospective applicants, or indeed anyone curious about the Program, early modern studies at Princeton, or related questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Dissertation Title:

"Slow Tampering: A History of Solitary Confinement"

Degree Year
Year of Study
Area of Interest
Intellectual History
Jewish History
Legal History
Medicine & Health
Home Department & Other Affiliations
15th & 16th Centuries
17th & 18th Centuries