I have taught at Northwestern University, the College of William and Mary, the University of Warwick, and SUNY Cortland. At those institutions, I have offered a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, focusing on early modern Europe, Italy, and global history, and historical methods and historiography.
Courses taught at SUNY Cortland
Western Civilization to 1500
In this course, students explore the history of Europe from ancient Mesopotamia through the Renaissance. This course emphasizes themes of social structures, the body politic, technology, gender roles and family, war, religion, and cultural expression. Students gain skills in reading primary sources and developing evidence-based historical arguments.
Fact, Fiction, and European History
What is the value of academic history, popular history, and historical fiction? How should the creators of any of these genres interact with fact, fiction, sources, and ideas about authority? Is there intellectual and educational value in all three? This course sets out to answer these questions, by looking at how history is disseminated to the public through popular media. We will discuss both popular historical work and works of historical fiction disseminated as books/novels, feature-length films, television series, and podcasts that focus on early modern European history. Students will have the opportunity to both critique and create works of popular history or historical fiction and consider how historians can best reach their intended audiences and make history come alive.
The Inquisition in Early Modern Spain and Italy
In order to protect Catholic Europe from heresy, the Spanish and Roman Inquisitions in the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries brought heretics and misbehaving Catholics to trial in their courts and left behind a rich collection of sources. This course will explore the workings of the Inquisition and also provide students with the tools to read these historically profitable but often challenging documents. Though they can be difficult to interpret, inquisition sources are particularly valuable for allowing historians to learn more about the non-elite, who are often conspicuously absent from other source bases. After a brief introduction to the history and procedures of the Spanish and Roman Inquisitions, students learn about how the Inquisition dealt with a variety of heretics and troublesome Catholics, such as religious dissenters/heretics, witches, misbehaving laypeople and bad priests. By the end of the semester, students understand the historical importance of the inquisitorial tribunals and be able to interpret the rich body of sources that the Inquisitions have left to historians.
Renaissance and Reformation Europe
This course offers a critical examination of the history and historiography of the Renaissance and Reformations of religion in Europe. It focuses on the development of Renaissance culture and politics, the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, and the impacts of these changes on European culture from the late 14th through the mid 17th centuries.
Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe
This course investigates the gendered nature of early modern European society to better understand the experiences of women marginalized by strict patriarchal gender roles that attempted to relegate them to secondary roles in society. We examine the idealized patriarchy as conceived of by powerful European men and then the reality of that system and how it affected the day-to-day experiences of Europeans at all social levels. Although women were limited by their social circumstances, they still participated in the major intellectual, social, and religious movements of this era such as the Renaissance, the reformations of religious culture, and the political shifts of state formation and war. They were obviously also central players in the quotidian experiences of communities and families across Europe. We look at women’s lived experience in the family and the convent, women’s economic and intellectual opportunities, their role in religion and politics, and at women and men considered transgressive in their sexuality or lifestyle.
Research Seminar: Microhistory
This seminar guides students through individual historical research, requiring the analysis of historical documents, and the conceptualization of an original historical argument. It will also helps students to situate their research findings within the recent historiography of their chosen topic. Students produce a thirty-page research paper for which they conduct original research, using the methodology of microhistory. Microhistory is a methodological approach to history that was developed in the 1970s and 1980s. Historians using this methodology examine unusual moments in the past or small snippets of everyday life, focusing on the activities of an individual or small group or on a particular event. By examining what happened to ordinary people in the past, microhistory can show us the cultural limits on human agency at that particular moment. In other words, what was that person or that group able to do under the circumstances they found themselves in? This offers a corrective to historical methods that sometimes focus on only the elite or wealthy members of society. Microhistory allows historians to bring the stories of ordinary people to light while also making larger claims about the society in which they lived.
Graduate Seminar: Issues in European History since 1500
Given the rise in awareness around movements to defund or abolish police, you may have encountered the argument that police forces are a relatively recent phenomenon, developed in the 19th century. While this is strictly true if we define policing as a state profession, life was not unpoliced prior to the 1800s. Within a European context, while we could trace some form of policing and criminal justice back to the ancient world, there is a significant shift in the 16th century, which is also when the words ‘police’ and ‘policing’ come into use. In this graduate seminar, we will be exploring what caused and motivated this shift, how it was enacted, who was most affected, and finally how this developed into the professionalization of state police forces by the 19th century.