Centuries before the industrial revolution, centralized bureaucracies and the modern nation state, European governments, organizations and individuals recognized certain behaviors and environmental events as potential threats to communal health. They theorized about it, devised solutions for it, and rolled out plans to counter it. Contributing to a revisionist historiography of public health, my work focuses on urban hygiene officials, how they defined the gaze of the state, and to what extent their sanitary programs met with success, resistance or apathy. Visit the dedicated website here.
Across the pre/modern divide, punishments helped maintain normative boundaries and articulated the specific meaning of certain trespasses and their social consequences. My work on penal incarceration in the Middle Ages and corporal punishment more broadly trace continuity and change concerning two penal modalities that, despite being associated with modernity and the premodern world, respectively, in fact have and continue to coexist.
The mendicant orders exercised a profound influence on many walks of later medieval life. Yet their meteoric rise met with numerous forms of resistance, articulating different types of critique, from the deeply theological to the utterly mundane. My studies in this field move antifraternalism past a literary-historical analysis and situate it in the social world of friars and other urban dwellers who saw religious mendicants variously as holy, corrupt, inspiring and threatening.
For published work in these fields please refer to Publications