College of Liberal and Fine Arts



November 8, 2018

UTSA’s History faculty are saddened to announce the passing of their former longtime colleague, Antonio Calabria.   We learned on Monday last week (Oct 8) that medical personnel found him in his home, where it is presumed he suffered a heart attack.  We have no further details at this time.

Born in Eritrea in 1941, Professor Calabria grew up in the Italian city of Messina before immigrating to Providence, Rhode lsland in 1953.  He attended Brown University as an undergraduate and did his graduate training at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his doctorate in 1978.   He joined the faculty at UTSA in 1980 and was later promoted to Associate Professor.   He retired from UTSA in 2014.

A scholar of early modern Europe (1300 – 1715), Professor Calabria focused his attention on the economic and social history of the Kingdom of Naples during the Renaissance.  He published The Cost of Empire with Cambridge University Press in 1991, and won the American Historical Association’s Marraro Prize the following year.  The work attributed the economic decline of Southern Italy to the ruinous fiscal policies pursued by its Spanish rulers between 1550 and 1638.  Calabria dug deep into overlooked government archives and summarized his quantitative analysis of financial transactions with an array of illuminating charts and graphs.   A reviewer for the American Historical Review rated the book as “excellent” and praised “the abundant and intelligently organized evidence” the author marshaled to support his thesis.  His later work explored social history through the “thick descriptions” afforded by government investigations of alleged wrong doing.

Prof. Calabria routinely taught courses in the Renaissance and Reformation as well as research methodology.  In the classroom he was well known for his lengthy reading lists and rigorous standards for writing and research.   “Although the book list was extensive,” one former student noted of one class, “the readings were very interesting. Class discussion was lively and relevant.”  Said another student: “Dr.C is an old school professor. Teaches using a seminar format. You must read, come to class and you must write analytically. Class discussions were interesting. Dr. C made himself available as needed to help students succeed. If you want to learn a lot and are willing to work for your grade I highly recommend his class.”

Former students of Professor Calabria are invited to share their recollections with Prof. John Martin at Duke University, who is preparing a more extensive memorial essay (

-Obituary courtesy of John F. Reynolds


If you would like to make a gift to the UTSA History department in memory of Dr. Calabria, you can do so at the following link:




A CaringBridge website was created for Tony Calabria.

We will use this online space to share health news, and you can write messages of encouragement in return. Please register with this free nonprofit service, then visit and follow the site to keep updated and show your support.

Site Link:
Site Name: tonycalabria

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