Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

6/1/2020 - 7/31/2020

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

Fertile Florence: How a Demographic Disaster shaped the Italian Renaissance

FAIN: FT-270464-20

Costanza Gislon Dopfel
St. Mary's College of California (Moraga, CA 94575-2715)

Research for a book on the connection between the Black Death and the origins of the Italian Renaissance.

Fifteenth-century Florence faced an unprecedented demographic crisis, as recurrent plague epidemics shrunk the urban population from the original 110,000 citizens in 1300 to just 37,000 in 1427. Yet, as the race for repopulation seemed to intensify, so did creativity and artistic production. This project provides an alternative understanding of the early Renaissance, identifying ties between the demographic situation and the literary and artistic production of the time. Two ongoing concerns underscore the research: changes in female agency and modifications of social behavior in response to anxieties about fertility and population decline. By identifying the historical events that connect the concepts of human and intellectual fertility, it unveils the link between female reproductive duties and the iconography of childbirth, between family books and the anxiety of perpetuating the family name; between monumental state commissions and the public trauma of depopulation.

Associated Products

Maternal Materialities (Book)
Title: Maternal Materialities
Author: Multiple contributors
Editor: Costanza Gislon Dopfel
Abstract: This is a collection of 20 essays from international scholars on material evidence for historical childbirth from the middle ages to the 17th century. It will be the second volume I will be publishing with Brepols on the subject of childbirth. The completed manuscript will be submitted in late February.
Year: 2022
Publisher: Brepols

Maternal Materialities (Book)
Title: Maternal Materialities
Author: Costanza Gislon Dopfel
Year: 2022
Publisher: Brepols
Type: Single author monograph