Sharon T. Strocchia
Department of History
Office: Bowden 308
Phone: (404) 727-4285
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; history of health and medicine in the premodern world; digital mapping. Author of Death and Ritual in Renaissance Florence (1992) and Nuns and Nunneries in Renaissance Florence (2009), which won the 2010 Marraro Prize awarded by the American Catholic Historical Association for the best book in Italian history.
In recent years, my research interests have shifted from female religiosity to the history of health and healing in early modern Europe, 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.
Currently I'm completing a book project provisionally titled Cultures of Care: Women, Knowledge, and the Pursuit of Health in Late Renaissance Italy. Based on a wide range of print and manuscript sources, my study examines Italian urban women as knowledge makers, commercial innovators and agents of health in the rapidly changing medical landscape of late Renaissance Italy. I argue that increased demand for healthcare services and a renewed emphasis on preventive health between 1500 and 1650 opened new opportunities for Italian women across the social spectrum to both produce and circulate experiential knowledge and to participate extensively in the medical marketplace. These investments in health-related activities helped transform female convents, girls’ conservatories and princely courts into important sites of knowledge making, on the one hand, while stimulating new business practices on the other. My findings recast current thinking about the organization and practice of Renaissance healthcare and have larger implications for understanding women’s relationship to the Scientific Revolution.
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.
- 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