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Joe Amato, Teacher and Author, February 14, 2014

Joseph A. Amato is a noted teacher, public speaker, scholar, and author of approximately twenty books.


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In 1969 Amato began teaching at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) in Marshall, Minnesota where he was a founder and chair of the History Department. He taught a range of courses in European intellectual and cultural history and historiography, with a particular interest in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, German, Italian, and French histories and European rural life, as well as taught ethics and introductory social science courses.

Amato has given countless lectures and talks on a variety of subjects in the region, throughout the state, Midwest, and at national conferences. Reading and speaking a variety of European languages—Italian, French, Russian, Spanish, and German (and some Biblical Greek)— Amato is widely traveled in Western Europe from the British Isles and the Netherlands to southern Italy, Greece, and Sicily.

A finally known local, regional, and state speaker and innovator in understanding place and the transformation of everyday rural life, in 2003 Amato was honored as a Friend of the Humanities by the Minnesota Humanities Commission and as Prairie Star by the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Council. He serves as an editor and advisor of Historically Speaking, reviews regularly for Journal of Social History and Modern Age, and consults with local library and hospital. Amato won the Minnesota Humanities Prize for Literature in 2005.

This interview is part the oral history project Intellectual and Cultural Leaders of Minnesota.

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