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Please click here to listen to Professor Messbarger discuss "Falling in love with another language and culture," for Washington University Arts and Sciences.
Rebecca Messbarger earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Washington University Humanities Center, and the American Philosophical Society. She is Director of Undergraduate Studies in Italian, founder and co-convener of the Eighteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Salon, and member of the Executive Board of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Professor Messbarger is currently co-editing with Christopher Johns and Philip Gavitt a volume on The Enlightenment Pope: Benedict XIV (1675-1758), the outcome of an international conference held jointly at Washington University and St. Louis University in the Spring 2012.
Her major research interests center on Italian Enlightenment culture, in particular the place and purpose of women in civic, academic and social life, and the intersection of art and science in the production of anatomical wax models during the age.
Professor Messbarger’s most recent book The Lady Anatomist: The Life and Work of Anna Morandi Manzolini (University of Chicago Press, 2010), examines the details of Morandi’s remarkable life, tracing her intellectual trajectory from provincial artist to internationally renowned anatomical wax modeler for the University of Bologna’s famous medical school. The book was a finalist for the College Art Association Charles Rufus Morey award for the best book in art history in 2012.
Structured as an extended disputation, Messbarger’s book, The Century of Women: Representations of Women in Eighteenth-Century Italian Public Discourse (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), tells the tale of five paradigmatic and ideologically divergent texts by male and female authors whose leitmotif is woman.
Professor Messbarger also edited and translated with Paula Findlen the volume The Contest for Knowledge for the University of Chicago Press series, “The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe.”
She is the author of numerous articles, including “The Re-birth of Venus in Florence’s Royal Museum of Physics and Natural History,” in The Journal of the History of Collections (May 2012), which won both the James L. Clifford Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Percy Adams Prize from the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies for the best article in 2012-13.