Sharon T. Strocchia

Professor

Department of History

Office: Bowden 308

Phone: (404) 727-4285

Email: sharon.strocchia@emory.edu

Biography

Sharon T. Strocchia, Professor (B.A., Stanford University; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley); social and cultural history of Renaissance Italy; gender and sexuality in early modern Europe; health and medicine in the premodern world. Author of Death and Ritual in Renaissance Florence (1992); Nuns and Nunneries in Renaissance Florence (2009), awarded the 2010 Marraro Prize by the American Catholic Historical Association; and Forgotten Healers: Women and the Pursuit of Health in Late Renaissance Italy (2019).

In recent years, my research interests have shifted from female religiosity to the history of health and healing in the early modern world, particularly in relation to gender. I edited a special issue of Renaissance Studies (Vol. 28, no. 4, September 2014) devoted to the theme of Women and Healthcare in Early Modern Europe. Written by an international team of scholars, this volume offers a major reappraisal of women’s health literacy and medical activities across England and the continent from 1450 to 1750. The essays situate female practitioners squarely at the nexus of household medicine, emerging structures of public health, and the production of medical knowledge, rather than on the margins of medical practice.

My latest book, Forgotten Healers: Women and the Pursuit of Health in Late Renaissance Italy (Harvard University Press, 2019), examines Italian urban women as knowledge makers, commercial innovators, and agents of health in the rapidly changing medical landscape of late Renaissance Italy (1500-1650). I argue that increased demand for healthcare services and a renewed emphasis on preventive health opened new opportunities for Italian women—aristocratic wives, poor nurses and caregivers, nun apothecaries—to produce and circulate experiential knowledge about the body and to participate extensively in the medical marketplace. My findings recast current thinking about how Renaissance healthcare was organized and practiced and shed new light on women’s engagement with empirical culture. 

I also co-edited a volume (with Sara Ritchey) titled Gender, Health, and Healing, 1250-1550 (forthcoming Amsterdam University Press, 2020). The thirteen essays, written by distinguished scholars from Europe, Israel, the UK and the US, utilize an integrative model of analysis that illuminates the intersections between healthcare and other aspects of medieval and Renaissance culture. Moving away from a narrow focus on learned or theoretical medicine, the volume makes room for the lived experience of healthcare and healing in all of its diversity at a formative moment in history.

Currently I am working on two new book projects: one examines the medical marketplace in late Renaissance Italy; the other explores entanglements linking the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds.

Over the years, my research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Academy in Rome, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (Villa I Tatti, Florence), the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, the National Humanities Center, the Renaissance Society of America, and the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory. Several of my publications have been awarded prizes by the American Catholic Historical Association, American Society of Church History, Sixteenth Century Studies Association, and Society for Renaissance Studies. I also serve on the advisory boards for the Medici Archive Project, Oxford Bibliographies Online, and Renaissance Studies. In late Spring 2020 I will be Robert Lehman Visiting Professor at Villa I Tatti, Florence.

My Curriculum Vita

Interests

  • Social and cultural history of Renaissance Italy
  • Women and gender in early modern Europe
  • History of health and medicine in the premodern world
  • Digital mapping