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Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies

Victoria University in the University of Toronto

Movements and Migrations around the Centre

Rachel Hart who was a Corbet Undergraduate Assistant in 2016-2017, and graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts. Rachel is a deeply committed actress and dramaturge who began her training both inside and outside the University theatre community throughout her undergrad and she continues in many new roles as she moves into the professional world of dramaturgy. She most recently appeared in Tactile Maladies with Seven Siblings Theatre in October, and has just completed a role within the musical Annie through the month of November. We at the CRRS will miss Rachel’s delightfully dramatic demeanor and witty posts for the “this day in history” series on our Facebook page. She always brought her enthusiasm to CRRS events and infused our gatherings with her gentle and positive spirit. We wish her the best in her new role(s) and know we will be hearing more of her rising star.

Friends and colleagues at the Centre wished farewell to Joel Rodgers over the last month as he moved into a third position (to his work at CRRS and CTSI) at the Faculty of Arts & Science. Joel is a gifted educator and administrator and worked hard for the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies in that capacity by spear-heading many projects in his brief tenure with us. Upon arriving at the CRRS last year, a specific fellowship was created just for Joel that now continues under the name of the Mulcaster Fellowship in recognition of the sixteenth-century pedagogue, Richard Mulcaster. Mulcaster’s most enduring work, Elementarie, was published in 1582 and forms a guide to good practice in teaching, particularly in the teaching of English. To this end, one of Joel’s many contributions to the Centre was a large funding proposal to the ATLAS (Advanced Teaching & Learning in Arts & Science) Initiative for a multi-year funded undergraduate class that highlights the rare books from the Centre’s collection. After months of preparation and submission, the end result is the upcoming fourth year seminar Exhibiting the Renaissance Book: Special Collections of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (VIC 449). We look forward to the inaugural class  in the spring session of 2018. Joel moves on to another position within the Faculty of Arts & Science Milestones & Pathways Initiative that supports activities to help students reach key milestones in their graduate training while enhancing graduate student experience. Before jumping into this position, Joel took the time to help establish the framework for distinct funding for graduate students connected to the Centre through the creation of two dissertation writing groups that now operate on Mondays in Pratt 304 (adjacent to the library). Joel will be sorely missed, but we are sure that our first Mulcaster fellow will continue to pioneer through his own research in the Department of English, the Milestones and Pathways and his work with the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation ever-more opportunities to enhance education, pedagogy and the student experience.


Last month we wished farewell to Deni Kasa who defended his PhD thesis in the Department of English on the topic of “Graceful Symmetry: The Politics of Grace in Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton” under Milton scholar Professor Paul Stevens. Deni has recently been featured in a “Remember This Name” article published by the University of Toronto where you can read in full of his next research and position as a Azrieli international postdoctoral fellow at Tel Aviv University. Deni comes from an Albanian background and contributed to the international community that the Centre nurtures amongst its visiting scholars, faculty and graduate students. We have experienced exactly the comments of his supervisor, Paul Stevens, that Deni is “a natural intellectual, a careful reader and imaginative thinker, quick on his feet and always willing to learn.” At the Centre he kept the graduate fellows posted on job opportunities, and participated annually in the Canada Milton Seminar hosted by the Centre. We will miss many things about Deni, his dogged work ethic for even the most lowly task, the intensity of his engagement, and his support and commitment to rigorous scholarship.We wish him the best in Tel Aviv and wherever his celebrated career takes him next. To read the about Deni’s current project in the University of Toronto news: Deni Kasa explores the Religious origins of liberalism at Tel Aviv University.

Over the summer we said farewell to Sebastiano Bazzichetto. Sebastiano was born in Venice and educated in Treviso and Canada at the University of Toronto. As a PhD in the Department of Italian he pursued and defended his PhD thesis on Baroque poetry from the beginning of the 17th century. Upon joining the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies in 2016, Seba immediately and generously shared with the his colleagues and students the importance of a cultural education. Along with fellow graduate student, Lindsay Sidders (History), he curated and moderated the Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum, a platform for graduate students to present their work to an interdisciplinary community of peers and faculty. Through his presence and work with the Centre Sebastiano encouraged many discussions about his passions for Italian art history, music and theatre, such that in the spring of 2017,when he launched, The Yellow Gloves, an Arts & Culture style magazine, he was able to draw upon a larger community of scholars so as to curates his inclusive, and truly embracing, sense of culture to a broader readership. The Centre will miss Sebastiano’s warm and edifying presence, but look forward to reading about his future exploits, whether as a cultural critic for the Canadian Opera company, editor of his magazine The Yellow Gloves, or his work for local Italian newspapers as a cultural correspondent.



Last month we said our warmest farewell to Karen Read. Karen has been in the position of finance coordinator for over a decade at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies. She is remembered as a stable presence who worked with many directors and finance administrators over her years of service. We wish Karen the very best in her current and future entrepreneurial interests and adventures. She will be missed by all who came into contact with her!




Elizabeth Mattison is a PhD Candidate in the Department of the History of Art. Her research explores the development of sculpture in the early modern Netherlands. She focuses particularly on the phenomenon of cultural transfer and artistic migration in the Prince-Bishopric of Liège in the first half of the sixteenth century. Her research interests include the construction of visual narratives in different media, notions of performativity and sculpture, the role of art in public space, and the visual culture and patronage in Picardy.

In the summer of 2017, Elizabeth will participate, with the support of the Kress Foundation, in the Summer Course for the Study of the Arts in Flanders, coordinated by the Museum M in Leuven and the Flemish Art Collection. Then, with the support of a SELECT grant from the University of Toronto, she will be studying Dutch at Utrecht University. Starting in September 2017, she will hold a Belgian American Educational Foundation Fellowship, which funds twelve months of research and residency at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels for her dissertation, titled “Reformed Movement: Migration, Exchange, and the Transformation of Sculpture in Liège, 1468–1566.”

This past winter, Elizabeth also participated in an internship in in the Department of Paintings at the Louvre where she worked on the forthcoming exhibition François Ier et les Pays-Bas and contributed to the accompanying catalogue. We will all miss Elizabeth’s cheerful presence, enthusiasm and talent, but we wish her the best in her new ventures in Europe!

Olenka Horbatsch Olenka Horbatsch is finishing her PhD in the Department of the History of Art on the topic, “Impressions of Innovation: Early Netherlandish Printmaking 1520-1545”. Her work examines Netherlandish etchings, engravings and woodcuts before the professionalization of the craft at mid-century, and seeks to critically reassess German printmaker Albrecht Dürer’s impact and influence on Netherlandish printmaking. Her research interests include sixteenth-century Netherlandish visual and material culture; printmaking techniques and print culture; Antwerp as a global city in the sixteenth century; and German-Netherlandish artistic and cultural exchange.

In January 2017, Olenka takes up a new position as a curator of Netherlandish collections at the British Museum in London, England. Her extensive knowledge and expertise in sixteenth-century art history, especially of the Low Countries, makes her a perfect fit for a public gallery that considers its mission creating accessibility for everyone. Her upcoming projects will contribute to the Gallery’s strong tradition of producing ground-breaking art historical, conservation and scientific research, as she continues to produce scholarly papers on the specific collections with which she will be working. We are sure that Olenka will prove to be an exceptionally meticulous and talented addition to their group of scholars, as she was at the Centre. For the last four years, Olenka’s careful planning and organization of the Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum continued a tradition of bringing together graduate students from otherwise disparate departments and across disciplines at the University of Toronto. She has also been a most helpful and capable guide at the CRRS to newcomers and old colleagues alike. Olenka’s vivacious spirit will be greatly missed, but we wish her the best in her new ventures across the Atlantic!


Brys Stafford Brys Stafford is finishing his PhD in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. His dissertation examines descriptions of urban space in the literature of late medieval and early modern Spain. While focusing on the urban, Brys also became interested in the remote, as he left the CRRS after 5 fruitful years to take up a professional teaching position in the far North of Canada with an Indigenous community, as an educator in the area of adult education and literacy. Brys devoted much of his time at the CRRS to working with the rare and modern books, and sat on the Library Committee. We will greatly miss Brys’s gentle friendship and his careful attention to our library collection, but we look forward to hearing of his brave work in the Arctic!


jessThis week we have said goodbye to another long-time staff member, Jessica Farrel-Jobst who is moving over the weekend to St. Andrews, Scotland to begin her doctoral work at the University of St. Andrews.

Jess graduated in 2015 with an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Toronto and carried on at U of T for her  Masters in History, working with Professors Ferguson and Kivimaüe. Her interests tended toward the early sixteenth-century German Reformation, as she explored the connections between the German intellectual movement and adoption of the anti-papalism in the court of Henry VIII. Her Master’s thesis, “Cast off the Cruel Yoke of Rome: Anglo-Germanic Relations and Intellectual Exchange in the Sixteenth Century Reformation.” Jessica joined the Centre as a Corbet Undergraduate Assistant in 2014 at which time she translated two Latin/Spanish documents from the sixteenth-century from our collection. Both articles were legal documents and have been added to our new Digital Platform OMEKA (acronym) under her assistant leadership and supervision of the project.  She adds this online online content to her already substantial corpus of Annotated Books Online, a project under Arnoud Visser wherein annotated books are compiled for future translation.

Earlier the year, Jessica had the opportunity with the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies to attend the Renaissance Society of America Conference in Boston, MA 2016. There she met with Andrew Pettegree of St. Andrews University, Scotland and expressed her interest in continuing her research of women booksellers, patrons and merchants a group in booktrading in the early sixteenth century, with a focus on England, Germany, and the Baltic as her area of investigation. She arrives in Scotland with a full scholarship to join the Universal Short Title Catalogue project, which compiles a full database of books in the sixteenth century from around the world under Andrew Pettegree’s direction.

The Centre will miss Jessica and her design talent and enthusiasm for the both the period and the source books and her work with them, but wish her the best in her future endeavours in Scotland.


bwDSC_8945Friends and colleagues at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies wish Dr. Tianna Uchacz best wishes in her new venture, which takes her to New York City where she joins Professor Pamela H. Smith for a three year term in the Making and Knowing Project at Columbia University as a Columbia University Postdoctoral Scholar.

Tianna received her PhD from the University of Toronto in June 201 upon completion of her dissertation entitled “The Sensual Body and Artistic Prowess in Netherlandish Painting ca. 1540–70,” which expressed new ideas around the the themes, forms, and functions of the erotic nude in Netherlandish art.  Part of her research is detailed in the forthcoming article, “Mars, Venus, Vulcan: Equivocal Erotics and Art in Sixteenth-Century Antwerp Painting,” in Netherlandish Culture of the Sixteenth-Century, Ethan Matt Kavaler and Anne-Laure Van Bruaene eds. forthcoming from Brepols.

Tianna joined the Centre in 2014, and her work in spearheading and reshaping the visual aesthetics of the Centre’s promotional material has been invaluable. Her gift for design led many in the centre to expand their current models for events, committee, and graduate forum promotional presentation and in the final year of her fellowship, Tianna had begun shaping the branding of the Centre so as to invite a larger audience to its unique atmosphere and collegial space. She was also a natural choice for the design team that, under the direction of the current Director Ethan Matt Kavaler, will produce a new publication out of the Centre entitled Early Modern Cultural Studies. The thematic scope allows works in this series to investigate trends and events in cultural, intellectual, social, political, and economic history which are indicative both of change and continuity with the past.  

Tianna’s research has been generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and also has enjoyed fellowships at Utrecht University and for the past three months at Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte. Working with the academics at Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte Tianna presented a workshop on “Erotic Heroic: Maerten van Meemskerck’s Eperimental Mode of Masculinity,” Tianna introduced participants to the confrontation between two cultural forces in flux: the codes of masculinity in sixteenth century Netherlandish painting and the conventions of artistic representation and that a new and experimental figural mode: the erotic heroic.

The Centre will miss the pleasure of Tianna’s company along with her gentle instruction in her talents for aesthetics and graphic design, which she expressed so naturally in all her work. We wish her the best in her new ventures in craft knowledge and historical techniques at Columbia.

To learn more about the Making and Knowing Project you can view the introductory video The Future of Making and Knowing here:


bwDSC_8886The community of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies also wishes to congratulate Dr. Colin S. Rose as he leaves our team to take up the position of Assistant Professor of European and Digital History at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario. Colin completed his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto, his Master’s degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and returned to the University of Toronto to complete his PhD in the Department of History. In recent years, Colin has been the Lead Research Assistant for DECIMA (Digitally Encoded Census Information and Mapping Archive), where he has been responsible for overseeing project design and execution, and for GIS (Geographic Information Systems) cartography. His work on the project allows historians to better understand the role of physical space, and movement through it, in shaping the daily lives of early modern city dwellers.


mappingColin is particularly interested in digital applications as a medium through which one can analyze and represent the flexible and dynamic relationships between spaces, social action and spatial representations of behaviour. For over five years the CRRS (and its website) have been fortunate to benefit from not only from Colin’s digital skills, but also his energetic mentoring, leadership and teaching capabilities. Earlier this year we celebrated Colin’s first publication with Nicholas Terpstra on the same research, which can now be found in the University of Toronto libraries (and at the CRRS) under the title, Mapping Space, Sense and Movement in Florence: Historical GIS and the Early Modern city.

Colin will be missed by his peers and colleagues, as we wish him the best for his own future movements. To learn more about the DECIMA project, and the pioneering Historical GIS web-app, please visit



1bwDSC_8882 Mitchell Gould convocated with high distinction in June with an undergraduate degree in History and English. He is registered to continue in a Master’s program in History at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario where he has been awarded a prestigious scholarship from Queen’s in order to pursue his research in the period of the English Reformation where he looks at perceptions of Israel and the holy land as a site of ideology through religious sermons in Reformation England.

Mitch joined the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies as a Corbet Undergraduate Assistant in 2015, and worked on a rare book project that included John Foxe’s 1563 Book of Martyrs, wherein he presented how English martyrs were represented abroad. Around the Centre, Mitch was involved with social media and frequently brought us interesting “On this Day in History” posts on our Facebook page. We will miss Mitch’s friendship, his eagerness to both be involved and participate in the Centre’s social life and wish him the best at Queen’s.

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