An enthusiastic logophile, I have dedicated many years to the study of languages, literatures, and cultures. Much of my life, both personal and professional, has been spent in devotion to words – written, spoken, and sung. As a scholar, I research their historical contexts and the individuals and worlds to which they point. As a writer, I draw on them to create characters, voices, and imagined realities. As a singer-songwriter, I join my love of them to that of soulful expression and a deeply rooted passion for music.
I am an assistant professor at Stanford University in the Department of French and Italian. In addition to researching and writing, speaking, and teaching, editing and translating, I am a writer (poetry and prose, literary historical fiction and non-fiction), and a singer-songwriter (adult contemporary).
After completing my doctorate at the University of Toronto in 2011, I conducted research as a scholarly fellow in the Department of History at Harvard University and at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at Victoria University in the University of Toronto, where I designed and taught early modern cultural history courses and lectured on Italian language and literature. I also served on the editorial board and as managing editor for an academic journal.
My research interests center on Michelangelo’s poetry and his world, early modern social and religious culture, and the intersections of literature and art and interactions of men and women therein. Though I specialize in wondrous realms of the Italian Renaissance, the synchronicities of academic life have led me to work in other areas further afield, including modern and contemporary literature, Enlightenment prose, and migration history. I remain open to new and interesting projects that cross my path.
An award-winning scholar, I have participated in a number of international conferences, as a speaker, an organizer, a moderator, and a round table discussant. Invited in North America and overseas to present my work, I have given talks to both scholarly and lay audiences. I have also consulted on special projects in film and art, and been interviewed for print, digital and video media.
Teaching language and literature, culture and history, has both furthered and fuelled my writing. I have taught in English, French and Italian; in North America and Europe; in scholastic, academic, and corporate settings; in group and one-on-one contexts. This work has greatly stimulated my creativity as a writer and as a songwriter over the years. My academic and creative work has been complemented by leadership positions I have assumed along the way.
I am passionately involved in two creative projects at the moment: creating original music for my second album and writing a work of literary historical fiction set in the world of fifteenth-century Italy that explores the changing world in which Michelangelo lived and depicts the female figures and types who animated it.
My greatest sources of joy outside of research, writing and music are playing with my dogs, contemplating human experience and big life questions at the crossroads of then and now, here and there, and engaging in energizing repartee and meaningful conversation.
I dream of a kinder, wiser and more compassionate world.