The visual and material culture of pilgrimage in the Este courts of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy
I research the visual and material culture of pilgrimage in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy, with a focus on the Este family and the ways in which the practice and concept of pilgrimage impacted patronage in the courts of Ferrara and Mantua. My dissertation investigates the development of pilgrimage past the medieval into the early modern period, and raises questions about the multifaceted motivations behind undertaking a pilgrimage, the place of popular devotional practices in the lives of the Italian nobility, the role of public performances of piety in cultivating a ruler's image, as well as how and why pilgrimage was represented or alluded to in the artistic commissions and collections of Italian courts. My doctoral research builds toward a larger interest in the iconography of pilgrimage, which I intend to pursue in my postdoctoral work. To connect Oxford-affiliated pilgrimage researchers across disciplines, in 2019 I founded The Oxford Pilgrimage Studies Network, an interdisciplinary research network funded by and hosted at The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH).
In addition to pilgrimage and court culture, my broader academic interests include medieval and early modern cross-cultural exchange, travel, and diplomacy; the history of scientific inquiry and instruments; and the ideal built environment, both in terms of architecture and urbanism. I have also delved into sensory studies through two projects: as lead organiser of the international "Pilgrimage and the Senses" conference (hosted at Oxford on 7 June 2019), and as co-organiser of Talking Sense, a 2018–19 research group bringing together Oxford early career researchers from diverse disciplines to shed new light on the permanent collection of the Ashmolean Museum through a series of interdisciplinary gallery talks.
"Court Culture and Art in Early Modern Europe, 1580–1700" (instructor of record)
"Women, Art and Culture in Early Modern Europe" (guest seminar leader)
"Krasis Seminar - Objects of Pilgrimage: Spatial, Temporal, and Personal Transition" (seminar designer & lead)
"Krasis Seminar - Mimetic Materials" (seminar designer & lead)
"Networks of Art from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment" (course designer & instructor of record)
"Politics, Art and Culture in the Italian Renaissance: Venice and Florence, c. 1475–1525" (graduate teaching assistant)