Women’s Suicide and Trauma in Sixteenth Century Germany and Italy
Supervisor: Professor Lyndal Roper
As an essential part of my research, I am creating a database of suicides committed by women between 1490 and 1620 in German and Italian speaking regions. I'm investigating the language courts, churches, legal and medical scholars and family members used to describe the circumstances under which these women died. I became interested in this topic when I noticed the paradoxical popularity of images of the Roman heroine Lucretia during the Reformation period, albeit in all confessional regions. Almost one thousand depictions of a woman who is taking a dagger to herself survive, mostly created by German, Dutch, Flemish and Italian speaking artisans. Among other things, Lucretia decorated sheaths, chandeliers, door knocks, tiles, furniture and jewellery. My research is connecting this visualisation of trauma with social history.
Another area of historical research that is very close to my heart, but that I have to put on hold for now, is Germany's commemoration of the Holocaust and the Third Reich. For this, I have been working on early child and family experiences of not only contemporary witnesses (victims, bystanders and perpetrators), but also their second, third and fourth generation descendants.