Assistant Professor of History and International Studies
Fellow of the American Academy in Rome
Office: McKee 203B
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My research and teaching interests lie in the cultural, religious, and intellectual history of Renaissance Italy and the early modern Mediterranean. In particular, I am interested in cultural exchange and its impact on individual and collective conceptions of belonging and difference, what I call the intellectual history of cross-cultural interaction.
My first book, A Jewish Jesuit's Mediterranean: Early Modern Conversion and the Entangled Identities of Giovanni Battista Eliano, explores the personal letters, official correspondence, and autobiography of Giovanni Battista Eliano, a sixteenth-century Jewish-born Jesuit priest. By tracing the ways that Eliano confronted the entanglement of his Jewish past and Catholic identity, this book illuminates what it was like to be a convert and in turn nuances our understanding of the ways in which individuals both constructed and performed richer senses of themselves and became agents of change in the early modern Mediterranean. The manuscript is under consideration for publication with Cambridge University Press.
My second book project, Ancient Others: Barbarians in the Italian Renaissance, is a systematic exploration of the historiography and literature of the Italian Renaissance, in Latin and the volgare, produced over the course of the long fifteenth century (c. 1350-1550). Ancient Others argues that Italian intellectuals aimed to secure their status as the heirs of classical civilization by confirming that their pan-Mediterranean political and religious rivals were the descendants of the peoples whom the ancient Greeks and Romans labeled barbarians. Beyond its implications for Italian Renaissance intellectual history, this book will demonstrate that early modern Mediterranean identities were not split into East-West or Christian-non-Christian dichotomies, but instead were fluid, situational, and spectral.
I am also the co-investigator of an interdisciplinary project on the place of ancient ruins in Rome's urban ecologies (c. 1300-1900), in collaboration with Kristi Cheramie, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at The Ohio State University. Through a study of literary, archival, archaeological, ecological, botanical, and cartographic evidence, this project aims to create museum exhibitions, essays, and a peer-reviewed monograph that investigate the dialectic between early modern Rome's lost urban ecologies and the people who experienced them.