Professor Rebecca Messbarger wins the Rome Prize Fellowship in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures extends a huge congratulations to Professor of Italian Rebecca Messbarger, who is the recipient of a Rome Prize fellowship in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies from the American Academy in Rome (AAR).

The AAR's fellowships are highly competitive and support advanced independent work and research in the arts and humanities. Professor Messbarger is one of 22 American artists and scholars awarded the prize for 2021 for her project entitled, "Ghostly Light: How Criminal Corpses Animated the Italian Enlightenment."

This new book project explores the still neglected Italian Enlightenment movement, or Illuminismo, within the framework of the gallows, which shaped major political, religious, aesthetic, and medico-scientific reforms across the Italian peninsula.

"Focusing on four cultural capitals: Bologna (a Papal state), Milan (ruled by the Austrian Habsburgs), Florence (under Grand Duke Peter Leopold), and Naples (Kingdom of the Spanish Bourbons), I aim to show that, notwithstanding their distinct cultural histories and modes of governance, for each, the criminal body was a recurrent touchstone for institutional transformation," Messbarger said. "In the singular collaborative milieu of scholars and artists at the American Academy, the Rome Prize would allow me to hone what I hope will be a critical new narrative of the Enlightenment Age."