Contributor Biographies: Visualizing Gender and Sexuality in the Middle Ages

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(This PDF includes the Introduction to Visualizing Gender and Sexuality in the Middle Ages, a Bibliography of Works by Rachel Dressler, and the Contributor Biographies on this page.)


Virginia Blanton

Virginia Blanton is University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is co-editor of the three-volume series Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe (2013–2017) and author of Signs of Devotion: The Cult of St. Æthelthryth in Medieval England, 695–1615 (2007). She is also co-founder of a multidisciplinary NEH-funded team, CODICES, which conducts optical, chemical, and computational analyses of manuscripts and early printed books:

Marian Bleeke

Marian Bleeke is Associate Professor of Art History and Director of General Education at Cleveland State University. Her scholarship has appeared in Different Visions, Studies in Iconography, Women’s Art Journal, and multiple edited collections. Her first book, Motherhood and Meaning in Medieval Sculpture: Representations from France, ca. 1100-1500 was published by Boydell & Brewer in 2017. While her work to date has focused on medieval European art and the lives and experiences of medieval women, she is currently working on a history of ivory as a material in the later Middle Ages and the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Jennifer Borland

Jennifer Borland is Professor of Art History and Director of the Humanities Initiative at Oklahoma State University. She specializes in medieval European art, most recently focusing on medieval images of healthcare and medical manuscripts. Her work has also converged with a variety of other topics including feminism and gender, materiality, audience and reception, medievalism and collecting, and engaged art history and pedagogy. She is the author of Visualizing Household Health: Medieval Women, Art, and Knowledge in the Régime du corps (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2022). She is a managing co-editor of Different Visions, and a founding member of the Material Collective.

Maeve K. Doyle

Maeve K. Doyle is Assistant Professor of Art History at Eastern Connecticut State University. Her research to date has focused on the book arts of later medieval Europe, particularly on issues of gender and reception of owner portraits in devotional manuscripts and marginal illumination. She is also interested in computational approaches to art-historical research and is currently studying iconographic and artistic networks of manuscripts produced in France and neighboring territories. Her work, which has been supported by the Fulbright Commission and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, has appeared in Getty Research Journal, Studies in Iconography (forthcoming in 2022), and multiple edited volumes.

Martha Easton

Martha Easton is Assistant Professor of Art History at Saint Joseph’s University, located in Philadelphia. She specializes in medieval art and architecture, with publications on various topics including illuminated manuscripts, hagiographic illustrations, gender issues in medieval art, medievalism, and the collecting of medieval art during later periods. More recently, she has worked on images of courtly love, especially as represented on fourteenth-century ivories, and on facsimiles and copies, especially plaster casts. Her work has appeared in Gesta, Studies in Iconography, Journal of the History of Collections, Perspectives Médiévales, and Different Visions, as well as in numerous edited volumes. She has been engaged in a long-term project about Hammond Castle, the eclectic revivalist home of the inventor and collector John Hays Hammond Jr., which was built in the 1920s on the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

KellyAnn Fitzpatrick

KellyAnn Fitzpatrick pursues research and teaching interests in medievalism (the ways that post-medieval societies reimagine or appropriate the Middle Ages). Her recent book, Neomedievalism, Popular Culture, and the Academy From Tolkien to Game of Thrones, considers evolving forms of medievalism in both consumer culture and academic discourse, arguing that the field of medieval studies is itself a product and practice of medievalism. Through its analysis of the labor processes involved in the production of online games and electronic texts, KellyAnn’s work with medievalism overlaps with her interest and experience in technical communication and software development.

Dénia Lara

Dénia Alejandra Lara is a museum professional and artist working in the Education department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She studies the material culture of the Normans, Migration Period art, Christian mysticism, and contemporary medievalisms. Born in rural Honduras, Dénia’s academic interests are informed by the social and economic legacy of colonialism and the displacement of peoples and objects.

L. Michael (Mickey) McCloud

Mickey McCloud studies medieval knighthood, masculinity, and social structure as well as reflected through Romance literature. A lover of Middle English and Elizabethan literature, he uses what he styles “modern heroic texts” (such as comic books, graphic novels and fantasy literature) as comparative foils to explore how we continue to grapple with medieval thought that still underpins identity formation in the modern era. Mickey currently serves as Chief Academic Officer of Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.

Karen Overbey

Karen Eileen Overbey studies the material culture of medieval Ireland and England, with a focus on portable and “decorative” objects like jewelry, reliquaries, and textiles. She is the author of Sacral Geographies: Saints, Shrines, and Territory in Medieval Ireland (2012) and co-editor of The Bayeux Tapestry: New Interpretations (2009) and Transparent Things: A Cabinet (2013). Her work has also appeared in Studies in Iconography, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, Different Visions, postmedieval, and a number of edited volumes. She is an Associate Professor Emeritus at Tufts University, and a founding member of the Material Collective.

Elizabeth Pastan

Elizabeth Carson Pastan is Professor of Art History at Emory University and President of the American Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum, the international body of scholars who study medieval stained glass, her primary research interest. She is the author of Les vitraux du choeur de la cathédrale de Troyes (XIIIe siècle) (2006), and she is the only American to have been invited to publish in this French series. Pastan is the co-author with the historian Stephen D. White of The Bayeux Tapestry and its Contexts: A Reassessment, for which they received a Collaborative Research Grant in the Humanities from the American Council of Learned Societies (2009); and a co-editor with Brigitte Kurmann-Schwarz of Investigations in Medieval Stained Glass: Materials, Methods, and Expressions (2019). She is currently working on a book on rose windows.

Donna L. Sadler

Donna L. Sadler taught primarily at Agnes Scott College and her research focuses on medieval art ranging from Reims Cathedral to late medieval sculpture from Burgundy and Champagne. Her books include: Reading the Reverse Façade of Reims Cathedral: Royalty and Ritual in 13th-century France (Ashgate, 2012); Stone, Flesh, Spirit: The Entombment of Christ in late medieval Burgundy and Champagne (Brill, 2015); Touching the Passion—Seeing Late Medieval Altarpieces through the Eyes of Faith (Brill, 2018); and The Nun’s Cell: Mirror, Memoir, and Metaphor in Convent Art (forthcoming).

Linda Seidel

Linda Seidel, Hanna Holborn Gray Professor Emerita in Art History at the University of Chicago, has published several articles on van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece in addition to a book on the Arnolfini Portrait. Her studies of sculpture in various parts of twelfth-century France and its historiography will soon include a book on the portal of Saint-Trophime, the pilgrimage to Compostela, and the city of Arles, forthcoming later this year from the University of Chicago Press.

Ellen Shortell

Ellen Shortell is Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She specializes in the architecture and stained glass of medieval and early modern France and Belgium. Her publications have investigated the experience of images in space, architecture and the cult of saints, female patronage, and modern collecting and restoration of stained glass. She is currently completing a study of the glazed cloister of the Premonstratensian Abbey of Park, near Leuven. She is vice president of the International Board of the Corpus Vitrearum, advisor to the American Friends of Chartres, and former chair of publications for AVISTA.

Debra Higgs Strickland 

Debra Higgs Strickland is Professor of Medieval Art History at the University of Glasgow with broad research interests revolving around animals, monsters, and representations of non-Christians in late medieval art. Her major publications include Medieval Bestiaries: Text, Image, Ideology (1995); Saracens, Demons, and Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art (2003); and The Epiphany of Hieronymus Bosch: Imagining Antichrist and Others from the Middle Ages to the Reformation (2016). She has published shorter studies in Different Visions, Res, Gesta, Viator, Studies in Iconography, and Speculum; and is currently editing an interdisciplinary volume for Brill on Medieval Bestiaries: New Approaches and writing a book for Reaktion on Monsters in Medieval Cultures.

Zaina Siraj

Zaina Siraj is a medical student at Albany Medical College. Her current interests in humanities include world history, with a focus on the Islamic Golden Era, and narrative medicine, which utilizes skills from the arts to improve clinician-patient relationships. Her creative work has been featured in Datura Art Exhibit (2020) and commissioned through her small business.

Benjamin C. Tilghman

Ben Tilghman is assistant professor of art history at Washington College and a member of the Material Collective, a collaborative working group of medieval art historians that explores innovative and more humane modes of scholarship. His scholarship has included studies on ornament in early medieval art, the visual nature of writing, codicology, and New Materialist approaches to art history. His current research focuses on ecocritical approaches to medieval art. He has also served as a curatorial fellow at the Walters Art Museum and is currently the chair of the Public Art Committee in Chestertown, Maryland.

Nancy M. Thompson

Nancy Thompson is Professor of Art History at St. Olaf College, where she teaches introductory and upper-level courses in Art History and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She has published several essays on medieval, Renaissance, and 19th-century stained glass, and is the co-author with Anne F. Harris of Medieval Art 250-1450: Matter, Making, and Meaning (Oxford 2021), a medieval art history textbook. She is currently working on a book on later medieval stained glass in central Italy. She is a managing co-editor of Different Visions, and a founding member of the Material Collective. and is the managing co-editor of Different Visions.

Jack Walton

Jack Walton is a graduate student in Library and Information Science at the University of Missouri. His creative work has appeared in Variant Literature (Fall 2019) and Number One Magazine (2020), and his academic and technical work ranges from Medieval Studies to Health Information Management. He occasionally serves as a library technician at the Kansas City Public Library.

Karl Whittington

Karl Whittington is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History of Art at The Ohio State University. He is the author Body-Worlds: Opicinus de Canistris and the Medieval Cartographic Imagination (Pontifical Institute, 2014), and the co-editor with Bryan Keene of New Horizons in Trecento Italian Art (Brepols, 2021). His articles have appeared in Gesta, Studies in Iconography, Mediaevalia, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Different Visions, and numerous edited volumes. His book, Trecento Pictoriality: Diagrammatic Painting in Late Medieval Italy, will be published in 2023.

Karen Williams

Karen Williams studies late medieval British drama, and is completing her dissertation, which examines the implications for audience understanding of the civic plays, comprised of the entire biblical cycle and often referred to as the Corpus Christi plays, as they were performed throughout the spaces of the city of York. She is currently at the University at Albany, primarily as an academic advisor, but occasionally as an instructor.

Diane Wolfthal

Diane Wolfthal studies late medieval and early modern European art. Her single-authored books include: Household Servants and Slaves: A Visual History, 1300–1700 (2022); In and Out of the Marital Bed: Seeing Sex in Renaissance Art (2010); Picturing Yiddish: Gender, Identity, and Memory in the Illustrated Yiddish Books of Renaissance Italy (2004); Images of Rape: The “Heroic” Tradition and its Alternatives (1999); and The Beginnings of Netherlandish Canvas Painting (1989). She is David and Caroline Minter Chair Emerita in the Humanities and Professor Emerita of Art History at Rice University.