Dean of Libraries and University Librarian John Zenelis has announced the 2015-2016 Fenwick Fellow is Dr. Kristina M. Olson, Assistant Professor of Italian and the Coordinator of the Italian Program in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.
Professor Olson’s research proposal, Sumptuous Literature: Clothing and Governance in Fourteenth Century Italy, is a current book project that investigates the intersection of history and literature in the works of medieval and early modern Italian authors. In her research, she will explore the impact of the displays of new wealth in clothing and jewelry and the restrictions imposed upon such social practices as expressed in the literary works of the Italian middle ages—namely those of Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch, the “three crowns” of Italian literature. Ultimately, Sumptuous Literature seeks to show how characterizations of fashion in literature shed new light upon our understanding of the simultaneous rise of capitalism and of fashion, and how these phenomena are first articulated in terms of gender and the body.
During her fellowship, Professor Olson plans to complete the historical and literary research for this project and write the first chapters of her book. Another expected product of this project will be the compilation of a database of the leading families of this period that will be featured on the Digital Dante project at Columbia University. Finally, her research will result in acquisition of research materials to expand the University Libraries’ holdings in medieval and early Renaissance history and literature.
Professor Olson will present the results of her work in spring 2017 at the annual Fenwick Fellow Lecture hosted by the University Libraries.