Brian Brege

Assistant Professor, History

Brian Brege

Contact Information

518 Eggers Hall
(315) 443-4303


Ph.D., Stanford University, 2014


Medieval and early modern Europe, history of globalization, the scientific revolution, diplomatic and imperial history


Brian Brege is a historian of early modern Europe and its engagement with the wider world. Animated by the complex and ambiguous interactions of knowledge, money, and power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, his research concerns the role of small powers and enterprising individuals in the creation of global capitalism and empire. His current book manuscript, The Empire That Wasn't: The Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Making of Global Capitalism, traces the ventures of late Renaissance Florentines as they sought knowledge, profit, and power throughout the Americas, the Islamic world, maritime Asia, and beyond. Tuscany’s experience in creating a shadow empire challenges existing paradigms that seek to explain the shift from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic World. The Empire That Wasn’t instead posits a framework that foregrounds individual initiative, contingency, and political choices.