Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1062
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
Arts & Sciences Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Washington University in St.
Louis, Spring 2015
Paula Backscheider Travel Fellowship, American Society for Eighteenth-Century
Fellow, Academy for Advanced Study in the Renaissance, 2012-2013
Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011-2012
Washington University R.W. Davis Summer Travel Grant, 2009-2012
Newberry Library Mellon Summer Institute in Italian Paleography, 2011
CNRS – École des Hautes Études Partner University Exchange, Paris, France 2010-2011
Newberry Library - University of Warwick Seminar in Venice, Italy, July 2010
Washington University International and Area Studies Pre-dissertation Grant, 2010
Research Interests & Dissertation
"Emporium, Community, Empire: the Anglophone Merchants of Livorno, Italy and the Sociability of Commerce in Early Modernity"
My research explores what the emergence of a culturally hybrid Anglo-Livornese mercantile community in Livorno, Italy meant for the reorientation and growth of British trade in an expanding world of European commerce. I challenge the prevailing view that the success of English commerce, and later empire, in the Mediterranean was dependent upon “small and constrained worlds” of overseas merchant factories linked by kin networks.
Using a relational database of merchants and archival sources, I demonstrate that English-speakers in Livorno maintained a community of transnational business partnerships, marriages, and friendships. I explore how disputes were settled, religious differences negotiated, and property was exchanged in the Anglophone community. These sources allow me to investigate how day-to-day interactions with minority groups and native Tuscans influenced identity formation within the Anglophone population.
Whereas historians have long seen early modern Italy and the Mediterranean as characterized by crisis and decline, my research, in line with recent work on Venice, argues that this was a period of economic recalibration and targeted growth in Tuscany. In Livorno, the Medici encouraged a kind of profitable pluralism, attracting foreigners to Europe’s first free port with religious toleration and lenient tariffs.
By focusing on the social activities of Anglophone merchants my work will expose the Livorno-based English commercial networks that undergirded the circulation of ideas as well as goods to, from, and within sixteenth and seventeenth-century Tuscany. I contend that Livorno and its transnational networks reveal understudied patterns of sociability in trade that shaped early modern community and commerce.