Joseph Albanese, History of Art

Joseph Albanese joined the History of Art department in 2018 and studies fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Northern European art and its subsequent crosscurrents with Latin American iconography. Joseph has an interest in exploring performativity and the sensory experience in art of that period as well as print culture. Joseph graduated with his double BA in Art History, History, and Spanish Literature from the George Washington University in 2017 and MA in Early Northern European Art from The Courtauld Institute of Art in 2018. At the Courtauld, Joseph wrote his Master’s thesis about depicting gender and supernatural identities in woodcuts from early printed editions of Fernando de Rojas’ play, La Celestina.

Eero Arum, Political Science

Eero specializes in the history of political thought, especially Renaissance and early modern political philosophy. His research considers themes such as sovereignty, emergency powers, and political demonology in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian, French, and English political thought. His dissertation, Absolute Democracy, reconstructs absolutist conceptions of democracy in early modern Europe, with a particular focus on Bodin, Hobbes, and Spinoza. His work is published or forthcoming in several journals, including Political TheoryHistory of Political Thought, and The Review of Politics; and in the three-volume book series The Cambridge History of Democracy.

Zachary Blinkinsop, Scandinavian

Zach’s primary interest is the development of Swedish national identity from the Scandinavian Reformation until King Gustaf III’s assassination in 1792. This research project particularly concerns the depiction of Norse antiquity by authors such as Olaus Magnus, Olaus Rudbeck, and Olof von Dalin. Other interests include the influence of English and French literature on Swedish satire, the rococo troubadour Carl Michael Bellman, and the partisan patronage of writers by Mösspartiet (the Cap Party) and Hattpartiet (the Hat Party). Zach came to UC Berkeley in 2014 by way of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota where he earned his BA in Scandinavian Studies and Latin.

Blake De Luca, Italian Studies

Blake’s research stems from a lifelong interest in time as an abstract entity and philosophical concept and in its relation to spatiality. It explores the development in the awareness and conceptualization of both throughout the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods in Italy (1300-1600).

Before joining the Department of Italian Studies at Berkeley, Blake received both their BA in Art History (summa cum laude) and their MA in Art History (summa cum laude) from Sapienza University in Rome, Italy. His undergraduate thesis proposed a theoretical framework for the relation between painted space and real space in fifteenth-century Italian altarpieces, while his Master’s thesis dealt with some of the iconographical derivations from the Mantegna Tarot, bringing him to study three painting cycles in Central Italy and to dive through XVI century archives.

Blake has worked at the Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica in Rome, acting as a guide and project coordinator in Palazzo Barberini, and held a scholarship from the Giulio Carlo Argan library of Art History in Sapienza University, Rome. They also gained international experience by winning an Erasmus+ grant, which allowed them to spend a semester in Paris, at Sorbonne University.

Other interests include feminism and queer theory, challenging the erasure of women and queer people through the Renaissance and tracing iconographic and literary models back to their origins.

Christopher Geary, English

Chris’s research interests broadly concern ecological history, the history of science, the history of critical philosophy and materialist thought, and how these intellectual and material developments are formulated in and through “late” early modern British literature from the English Revolution to early Romanticism. He is particularly interested in how Enlightenment ideas of spontaneity are worked out over this long period through questions of organic, aesthetic, and political form. He joined the English program at Berkeley in 2018 after having completed his B.A. and M.A. in English at the University of Toronto.

Caroline Godard, French

Caroline’s studies focus on sixteenth and early seventeenth century French literature, especially the Essais of Michel de Montaigne. Her research considers topics in the history of the book and of reading, affect theory, the senses (principally touch), and philosophies of community. She also has ancillary interests in art history, lexicography, and Renaissance translation theory. Before joining Berkeley’s French department in 2020, Caroline completed her undergraduate education at Miami University of Ohio and earned an MSt in Modern Languages from St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

Hannah Katznelson, Comparative Literature

Hannah focuses on the literary construction of temporality between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries in France, England, and Italy. She is interested in how medieval literary, intellectual, and theological frameworks are modified to accommodate new and more robust senses of a historical “now” in narrative genres such as Epic, romance, and the novella. She is also interested in the rhetorical processes of moral education, and their relation to narration and narrative forms in allegory and other didactic genres. She comes to the program with a B.A. in Literature from Yale University.

Anahit Manoukian, Spanish and Portuguese

Anahit’s primary area of focus is eighteenth-century Spanish literature, culture, and history, with a particular interest in the Spanish Enlightenment, Spanish intellectual and imperial history, and geopolitics. Through comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to studying the Hispanic world, she intends to trace the Spanish empire’s path to Enlightenment by looking at simultaneous pre-Enlightenment philosophical and scientific conversations taking place in Europe during the early modern period and how these ideas were received, appropriated, and repurposed by Spanish enlightenment thinkers in the eighteenth century. Additionally, she is interested in tracing the exportation of Enlightenment ideologies to the Spanish colonies during the Bourbon Reforms. Anahit holds a BA in Political Science (minors in Spanish and Latin American Studies) from UCLA and an MA in Spanish from CSULB.

Kevin Martín, Italian Studies

Kevin’s research focuses on the linguistic history of the Romance language family, with an emphasis on Italian. Currently, he is examining the role the Italian language played in building and disseminating conceptions of otherness in the Horn of Africa from the Age of Discovery in the Early Modern period to Italy’s subsequent colonial empire (1885-1941). His approach is interdisciplinary, and incorporates methods from (Historical) Sociolinguistics and Translation Studies. Kevin comes to the program with a double B.A. in Linguistics and Italian Studies from UC Santa Cruz, as well as experience in foreign language education and business localization.

Kyle Martin, History

Kyle’s research focuses on early modern religious, intellectual, and political thought. He researches the relationship between Biblical history and the history of the Bible, as well as political and religious thought in Europe during the long afterlife of the Protestant Reformation. Recently, his research has turned to late humanism and neo-Latin Biblical commentaries in the mid 17th century, especially the Biblical Annotationes of the Dutch legal theorist Hugo Grotius. His broader research interests cluster around early modern Intellectual and religious history, and include the history of Christianity and Jewish-Christian relations, the history of the book, early Reformed theology, and the development of historical and legal thought within the Calvinist Confession in the 16th and 17th centuries. He joined the history department at Berkeley in 2022, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in history from Baylor University and his master’s degree in history from Yale.

Kevin Ogunniyi, English

Kevin’s study has centered on Elizabethan-Jacobean drama, particularly on the nexus between aesthetics, ethics, representation, and performance, in the tragedies of the period. He works always to descry what literature teaches readers and spectators about how we live and how we ought to live. Subsidiary interests include: the histories of literary criticism and Classical reception; “pre-modern” humanist and other anthropologies; character criticism; critical theory; continental European Romances and romances; (what seems like) the theatre’s (and literature’s) capacities to outstrip life and to fall short of life.

Yessica Porras, History of Art

Yessica is interested in the juxtapositions imbedded in Colonial Latin American art, with an emphasis on the Northern Andes. Part of her current research deals with mural works found inside colonial churches and convents. For Yessica, colonial mural works have an unstable quality that warrants a closer look to explore the way mural programs related to the people that co-existed with these images. Her overall academic work intends to bring attention to understudied artistic expressions and put them in conversation with the larger spectrum of Art History. This includes the role of religious orders in the making of art in Latin America during the sixteenth to eighteenth century. Yessica received her BA in History of Art at UC Berkeley in 2014 and joined the History of Art graduate program in 2015.

Alexis Stanley, French

Alexis joined UC Berkeley’s French Department in 2018 after receiving a B.A. from Duke University and a double M.A. degree from the École normale supérieure in Paris, France. Her research engages with French Enlightenment discourse through the triple lens of literary studies, new media studies, and performance studies. She examines the influence the “Age of Reason” exerted on the development of theatrical techniques and literary accounts of bodily expression and gesture in France, with particular attention to the work of Denis Diderot and the practices of dance, pantomime, and theater.

Evan Strouss, Comparative Literature

Evan’s research interests are centered predominantly in the German and Italian lyric traditions of the 16th century through the Enlightenment, particularly as they relate to emergent conceptions of identity – political and theological. More recently, he has grown interested in studying these traditions in conjunction with early modern developments in song and stage, interrogating how these changes resonate with ever-shifting theories of voice. Evan comes to Berkeley by way of Brown University, where he earned an A.B. in German Studies, and Dartmouth College, where he earned an M.A. in comparative literature.

Arya Sureshbabu, English

Arya’s primary interests cluster around questions of self-reflexivity, marginality, and temporality in early modern English drama and lyric. More tangentially, she is also fascinated by generic instability, different modes of unknowability, precursors to post-critique, and postcolonial appropriations of Renaissance texts. Prior to joining the graduate program, Arya completed her BA in English at UC Berkeley.

Yisheng Tang, East Asian Languages and Cultures

Yisheng works on early-modern and modern Japanese literature and her primary interest lies in late Edo and Meiji literature (roughly the nineteenth-century). She examines examples of friendship and communal bonds through canonical literary works as well as through the literary genres and texts and objects created and circulated around and among the writers themselves. Her other interests include early-modern European literature, historical fiction, theater, and affect. Yisheng received her BA in Comparative Literature and Japanese (minor in German) from UC Berkeley in 2019.

Gio Maria Tessarolo, Political Science

Gio is interested in the history of early modern and modern political thought and their relationship with contemporary political philosophy (especially republicanism and liberalism). His research on a range of related topics – from Renaissance Florentine thought to seventeenth-century natural law to twentieth-century Germany – has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of journals, including History of Political ThoughtRivista di storia della filosofiaStudi storici, and Rinascimento. He is also fascinated by methodological issues in the history of political thought and by interdisciplinary approaches to its study. Before coming to Berkeley, he studied philosophy at the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa), received BA and MA degrees from the University of Pisa, and spent one year as an affiliate student at UCL.

Gemma Tronfi, Italian Studies

Gemma studies the intellectual history of economics with an emphasis on premodern Italy. She investigates particular phases of early Italian capitalism where the coexistence of financial decline, courtly decadence, and business flourishment is historically and historiographically ambiguous in and outside literary representations. She focuses on a long Renaissance period roughly going from the late Florentine mercantile culture to the Italian precursors of noblesse commerçante, mid-fifteenth to mid-seventeen centuries. More theoretical questions of hers concern the conflicting rhetorical and epistemological practices in literary formulations of economic concepts such as taxonomy, rationalisation, modelling, utility, calculativeness, and competition. She comes to the program with a BSc and an MSc in Economics from Bocconi University, as well as extensive archival and curatorial experience.

Sally Tucker, Italian Studies

Sally’s research explores the intersection of Early Modern Italian literary and visual culture. She is especially interested in sixteenth-century art theory and discussions on the arts in Italian literary academies. Her interests also include Early Modern concepts of gender and sexuality and the Italian response to Early Modern travel accounts of the Americas. Sally holds an M.A. in Art History from Syracuse University, having completed the Florence Program in Italian Renaissance Art in 2017.

Zhonghua Wang, Italian Studies

Zhonghua Wang’s research interests lie in the fields of intellectual history of early modern Europe and East Asia with a particular emphasis on intellectual network(s) and literary relations between Italy and China, Digital Humanities, Global History, Travelogue, Orientalism and Occidentalism. Zhonghua Wang joined Berkeley’s Italian Studies Department as a Ph.D. student in 2019. She holds a B.A in Italian an M.A in European language and literature.