Italian: Medieval studies, Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, medieval chronicles, historiography, gender studies
My current book project, Sumptuous Literature: Clothing and Governance in Fourteenth-Century Italy, explores the relationship between sumptuary statutes (laws which regulated clothing and displays of wealth) and the thematic treatments of luxurious dress and extravagant spending that can be found in the works of Italy’s “three crowns” of literature: Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch, as well as other poets and chroniclers of the period. In order to maintain social order, sumptuary legislation and ecclesiastical admonitions targeted various displays of luxury: excessive spending on clothing, jewelry, and rituals, such as funereal practices and exorbitant wedding dowries. Sumptuous clothing, a visual language of its own that signified status, became an essential part of a poetic language that addressed politics, gender and civic identity.
Courtesy Lost: Dante, Boccaccio and the Literature of History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. http://www.utppublishing.com/Courtesy-Lost-Dante-Boccaccio-and-the-Literature-of-History.html
Boccaccio 1313-2013. Edited with Francesco Ciabattoni and Elsa Filosa. Ravenna: Longo Editore, 2015.
Open City: Seven Writers in Post-War Rome. Edited with William Weaver. South Royalton, VT: Steerforth Press, 1999.
"Shoes, Gowns, and Turncoats: Reconsidering Cacciaguida’s History of Florentine Fashion and Politics." Dante Studies: The Annual Publication of the Dante Society of America 134 (forthcoming, December 2016).
"Uncovering the Historical Body of Florence: Dante, Forese Donati, and Sumptuary Legislation." Italian Culture 33:1 (March 2015): 1-15.
“Dante’s Urban American Vernacular: Sandow Birk’s Divine Comedy.” Special Edition: “New Voices in Dante Criticism,” of Dante Studies: The Annual Publication of the Dante Society of America 131 (2013): 143-169.
“The Language of Women as Written by Men: Dante, Boccaccio, and Gendered Histories of the Vernacular,” Heliotropia 8-9 (2011-12). Reprinted in Heliotropia 700/10: A Boccaccio Anniversary Volume (LED, 2013), pp. 217-236.
“Resurrecting Dante’s Florence: Figural Realism in the Decameron and the Esposizioni,” Modern Language Notes 124:1 (January 2009): 45-65.
“Im/material Girls: Paradiso 15, Commentaries, and Giovanni Villani.” Invited lecture, Villanova University, November 2, 2016.
"Skirting the Issue: Dante, Boccaccio and Sumptuary Legislation in Italy during the 13th and 14th Centuries." Invited lecture, University of New Hampshire, October 14, 2016.
“Panni corti and Minos’s Tail: Boccaccio’s History of Fashion and Governance in Esposizioni 5.” The Triennial Conference of the American Boccaccio Association. Duke University, September 30-October 2, 2016.
“Shoes, Gowns and Turncoats: Reconsidering Cacciaguida’s History of Florentine Fashion.” Panel sponsored by the Dante Society of America. The International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, Michigan. May 2016.
"Dante in a Global World: Sandow Birk's Divine Comedy." Symposium: "Dante Alighieri at the Library of Congress." The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. December 3, 2015.
"New Fenwick Fellow’s Research Explores 14th Century Fashion"