Professor of History
Her teaching interests focus on the social and cultural history of Early Modern Europe, with a special emphasis on Renaissance Visual Culture, Body History, Catholicism, and Comparative Legal Studies of the Mediterranean.
Her most recent research centers on lactation imagery in Renaissance and Baroque art. She published a book entitled Convents and the Body Politic in Late Renaissance Venice (University of Chicago Press, 1999), two edited volumes entitled Across the Religious Divide: Women, Property, and Law in the Wider Mediterranean, with Shona Kelly Wray (Routledge, 2009) and Medieval and Renaissance Lactations: Images, Rhetorics, Practices (Ashgate, 2013), as well as articles on allegories of Charity, queer lactation imagery, the history of marriage and Portuguese women's property rights in the Renaissance.
This course is about interlocking theories of visual culture, materiality, and desire. It will start out by examining miracle-working art of the medieval period, move into early modern iconoclasm, and consider European encounters with visual cultures in Latin America and Africa. Among others, we will ask, in W. T. Mitchell's words: "What do pictures want?" to theorize the particular address of certain figurative art works on the viewer. We will also trace the colonial history of the concept of "fetish," first coined by 16th century Portuguese explorers of Africa, who encountered what they called magic and witchcraft (feitico).
This course investigates the current "re-branding" of Germany by focusing on Berlin as an astonishingly liberal - i.e. hip, artsy, and affordable - city. Setting the scene by reading Peter Schneider's recent book Berlin Now, we will investigate scholarly literature, fiction, film, and journalistic writing to discuss and critically evaluate this self-presentation, accompanied by inquiries into Germany's complex history of the 20th century. The larger topics we will address include: the politics and history of city planning and urban development; contemporary music, theater, literature, film, and the arts; GDR legacy and "Ostalgie" ([n]ostalgia); the situation of immigrants, migrants, and transient people living in Berlin; the history of Berlin's queer culture; Jews in Berlin and the Holocaust. The course will be accompanied by weekly film screenings. It is especially geared toward students preparing to participate in the Berlin program.
In this course, we will explore art, literature, and other forms of cultural expressions in the early modern era (1400-1800) in different parts of the world. Case studies will be located in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean Region, Africa, and pre- and post-Columbian Latin America. A particular focus will be on questions of gender. Research for final papers should be based on work with primary sources (such as original art works). Depending on funding, there will be a field trip to the Met.
This course is a methods-course for all students interested in historical inquiry. We will start out by reading Gayatri Spivak's provocative essay "Can the Subaltern Speak?", in which she, among other things, problematizes the difficulties of writing the history of disenfranchised peoples who may not have left traces in the archive. We will then move into a variety of case studies from early modern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and South-Asia to discuss the potential for reading archival material against the grain. We might also discuss non-textual forms of historical research informed by objects and images. The class will be conducted seminar-style, with ample opportunities for students to pursue their own research.
This course is an introductory history course based entirely on primary literature, art, and music written and produced by women from various parts of Europe, Mexico, and Ethiopia. We will read letters, scientific treatises, autobiographies, and political writings by prominent mystics (Saints Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and Walatta Pretos), proto-feminist writers (Christine de Pizan and Moderata Fonte), female physicians and midwives (Trotula, Olivia Sabuco de Nantes Barrera, Jane Sharp), Jewish businesswomen (Glickl van Hameln), fake saints (Cecilia Ferazzi), courtesans (Veronica Franco), cross-dressing soldiers (Catalina/o de Erauso), and French revolutionaries (Olympe de Gouges). In addition, we will listen to music by Francesca Caccini and Italian nuns and view the art of Artemisia Gentileschi, Lavinia Fontana, and Sofonisba Anguissola. Mix of creative writing assignments and analytical papers.