Dr Emily Michelson

Dr Emily Michelson

AB (Harvard) and PhD (Yale) - Senior Lecturer

Contact Details

E-mail - edm21@st-andrews.ac.uk
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 462881
Fax - +44 (0)1334 463334

Research Profile on Research@StAndrews


Teaching and Research Interests

I am a cultural and religious historian of early modern Italy. Most of my research coalesces around two fundamental questions: 

  1. How did early modern people balance their private beliefs with public actions? 
  2. How did close contact affect the way different religious groups interacted and imagined each other? 

My first book (The Pulpit and the Press in Reformation ItalyHarvard UP 2013), applied these questions to Catholic preachers in Italy as they reacted to the pressures of the Protestant Reformation. I am currently on research leave (funded by a British Academy mid-career grant and an AHRC early-career fellowship) to complete my second monograph, Imaginary Jews in Early Modern Rome.  This project examines conversionary preaching to the Jews of Rome. It uses this popular spectacle as a lens on the workings of the early modern Catholicism and the early modern city of Rome, during a period when both were transformed. During this time I will also be editing a volume on religious minorities in early modern Rome, based on a series of collaborative workshops with other scholars. 

I enjoy teaching on all of these topics as well as on the intellectual, social and artistic traditions of Renaissance Italy.  I welcome inquiries from students interested all aspects in the Renaissance, the Reformation in Catholic regions, or the social and cultural history of Italy.


  • “Conversionary preaching and the Jews of Early Modern Rome” Past& Present vol. 235 issue 1, May 2017, 68-104
  • The Pulpit and the Press in Reformation Italy, I Tatti Monographs in Italian Renaissance History, Harvard University Press, March 2013 [Details]
  • From Icons to Eternity: Studies in Religious and Cultural History in honor of Carlos M.N. Eire, ed. Emily Michelson, Scott K. Taylor and Mary Noll Venables, St Andrews Studies in Reformation History, Ashgate, 2012

Selected Articles and Chapters:

  • How to write a conversionary sermon: Rhetorical influences and religious identity,” in Religious orders and religious identity formation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ca. 1420-1620, ed. Bert Roest & Johanneke Uphoff (Brill, 2016), 235-251.
  • “Dramatics in (and out of) the Pulpit in post-Tridentine Italy,” in The Italianist, vol. 34 no. 3 (2014), 449-462.
  • “Evangelista Marcellino: One Preacher, Two Congregations” in Archivio Italiano per la storia della pietà 25 (2013): 105-202.
  • 'An Italian explains the English Reformation (with God’s help)” in From Icons to Eternity: Studies in Religious and Cultural History in honor of Carlos M.N. Eire ed. Michelson, Taylor, and Venables (Ashgate, 2012): 33-48
  • "The power of the pulpit and the transmission of Trent in sixteenth-century Italy: Cornelio Musso and Franceschino Visdomini in the 1550s" in Languages of Power in Italy (1300-1600), ed. Daniel Bornstein and Laura Gaffuri, in press at Brepols (forthcoming, 2013).
  • “Preaching Across Rome in the Sixteenth Century: Three Key Sites for Catholic Identity” in Early Modern Rome 1341-1667 ed. Portia Prebys, in press with Edisai, Ferrara, (2011).  
  • “The Catholic Inquisition” in The World History Encyclopedia, Vol. 6: The First Global Age. Eds. Dane Morrison and Jeffrey Diamond. (ABC-CLIO) (2010).
  • “Luigi Lippomano, His Vicars, and the Reform of Verona from the Pulpit,” Church History 78, no. 3 (2009): 584-605.  
  • “Preaching Scripture under Pressure in Tridentine Italy: A Case Study of Gabriele Fiamma” in The Formation of Clerical and Confessional Identities in the Sixteenth Century. Eds. Wim Janse et al. (Dutch Review of Church History, vol. 85; Brill) (2006).
  • “Bernardino of Siena Visualizes the Name of God,” in Speculum Sermonis: Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Medieval Sermon. Eds. Georgiana Donavin et al. (Disputatio series; Brepols) (2005).
  • Translator (from Italian), “From the Council of Trent to Tridentinism,” by Giuseppe Alberigo, in From Trent to Vatican II: Historical and Theological Investigations. Eds. Raymond F. Bulman and Frederick J. Parrella. (Oxford) (2006)

Teaching Duties

Sub-honours teaching and lecturing in MO1007 and HI2001
Teaches the following Honours courses:

Postgraduate teaching:

Directed reading in Modern History
Aspects of Reformation Historiography
Approaches and Sources in Early Modern History (MO5001).

Current Research Students

  • Jessica Dalton, "Jesuit confession and the private absolution of heresy in sixteenth-century Italy” co-supervised with Andrew Pettegree

Completed Research Students

  • Gillian Jack, The Experience of Converted Prostitutes in the Monastero di Santa Elisabetta delle Convertite in Late Renaissance Florence (with Frances Andrews)