My research interests concern the cultural history of Early Modern Italy, and Europe more broadly. I am particularly interested in the creation, maintenance, and material manifestations of authority; persecutions of minorities and illicit sexuality; court culture; rituals and spectacle; and material culture. My DPhil project investigates the dynastic marriages between France, Ferrara, and Florence in the sixteenth-century, which attempted to unite political interests and ensure dynastic alliances. In addition to exploring the weddings themselves, and their rituals, spectacle, and innovations, I will explore these events as moments of cultural interaction. Unlike recent scholarship which has emphasised the positive cultural exchange which took place during such mergers, I will be researching possible distrust or even antipathy towards the other party, or stereotypes evident in the accounts of the celebrations, particularly on national grounds. My hypothesis is that despite the lack of consolidated states, there was a strong concept of national consciousness in Italian and French courts, especially in regards to the other. With the Reformation and the Italian Wars as a backdrop, tensions between the Bride’s entourage and the courtiers in her new home would be inevitable, especially at a time when celebrations were taken to excess.
I am the convenor of the Oxford Court Studies seminar, please contact for more details.