Dr. Wietse de Boer

Wietse de Boer

Chair and Professor

271 Upham Hall


Office hours Fall 2020: M/R 1:30-2:30pm, and by appointment


  • PhD 1995, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • MA, University of Amsterdam
  • BA, University of Amsterdam

Teaching and Research Interests

  • Medieval and Renaissance Europe
  • History of the Reformation
  • Italian cultural and religious history

Courses Recently Taught

  • HST 246 Survey of Medieval History
  • HST 315 History of the Renaissance
  • HST/REL 316 Age of the Reformation
  • HST 328 Italy: Machiavelli to Mussolini
  • HST 400 Senior Capstone: Travel in the Early Modern World
  • HST 602 History and Theories

Selected Publications

  • Art in Dispute: Catholic Debates at the Time of Trent. With an Edition and Translation of Key Documents. Brill’s Studies on Art, Art History, and Intellectual History, vol. 59. Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2022 [published December 2021].
  • “Expressions of the Self in Burckhardt’s Renaissance.” In: A Renaissance Reclaimed: Jacob Burckhardt’s Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy Revisited, ed. Simon Ditchfield and Stefan Bauer. Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 245. Oxford: Oxford University Press (March 2022), 120-41.
  • “Image, Adoration, Meditation: Debates in the Margins of Trent.” In: Genèse et postérité des Evangelicae Historiae Imagines (1593-1594), ed. Pierre Antoine Fabre, Ralph Dekoninck, and Walter S. Melion.  Rome: École française de Rome (forthcoming).   
  •  “L’imputato suicida. Morte, vita, memoria” [“Suicide in Prison: Death, Life, and Memory”]. In De Boer, Lavenia, and Marcocci (eds.), La ghianda e la quercia [see below], 41-62.
  • (co-edited with Vincenzo Lavenia and Giuseppe Marcocci) La ghianda e la quercia. Saggi per Adriano Prosperi. Rome: Viella, 2019.
  • "Trent, Saints, and Images: A Prehistory" in Trent and Beyond: The Council, Other Powers, Other Cultures, ed. Michela Catto and Adriano Prosperi (Tumhout: Brepols, 2017), 121-41.
  • "Reformations and Counter-Reformations: The Contested Terms of Reformation History" in Martin Luther: A Christian between Reforms and Modernity (1517-2017), ed. Alberto Melloni, 3 vols. (Berlin-New York: De Gruyter, 2017), vol. 1, 43-58.  Also appeared in German (Berlin-New York: De Gruyter, 2017) and Italian (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2017).
  • "Figments of the Imagination: Medical and Moral Discourses on Love in the Counter-Reformation" in Ut pictura amor: The Reflexive Imagery of Love in Artistic Theory and Practice, 1500-1700, ed. Walter S. Melion, Joanna Woodall, and Michael Zeli (Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2017), 28-56.
  • "Die Disziplinierung der Sinne. Innenraum und Religion in Italien zur Zeit der Gegenreformation," Randgänge der Mediävistik, 6 (2016), 9-49.
  • "The Early Jesuits and the Catholic Debate about Sacred Images" in De Boer, Enenkel, and Melion, Jesuit Image Theory [below] 53-73.
  • (co-edited with Karl A.E. Enenkel and Walter S. Melion), Jesuit Image Theory, Intersections 45, Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2016.
  • (co-edited with Annette Kern-Stähler and Beatrix Busse), The Five Senses in Medieval and Early Modern England, Intersections 44, Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2016.
  • (co-edited with Giuseppe Marcocci, Aliocha Maldavsky and Ilaria Pavan), Space and Conversion in Global Perspective, Intersections 35, Leiden-Boston: Brill 2014.
  • "The Counter-Reformation of the Senses," Ashgate Research Companion to the Counter-Reformation, ed. Mary Laven, Alexandra Bamji, and Geert Janssen (Farnham, UK:  Ashgate, 2013), 243-60.
  • "A Neapolitan Heaven: The Moral Universe of G.B. Giustiniani," in De Boer and Göttler (eds.), Religion and the Senses [see below], 363-91.
  • (co-edited with Christine Göttler), Religion and the Senses in Early Modern Europe, Intersections 26.  Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2013.
  • "Nacchianti, Jacopo," Dizionario biografico degli Italiani (Rome: Instituto del'Enciclopedia Italiana), 77 (2012), 655-58.
  • "A proposito di un documento-reliquia: Carlo Borromeo e la pratica della santita," Studia Borromaica 25 (2011), 459-76.
  • "Moments of Truth: Castiglione, the Sack of Rome, and the Counter-Reformation."  In Per Adriano Prosperi, vol. 1, La fede degli italiani, ed. Pierroberto Scaramella, Adelisa Malena, Guido Dall'Olio, Pisa: Edizioni della Normale (2011), pp. 333-352.
  • "Invisible Contemplation: A Paradox in the Spiritual Exercises."  In Meditatio--Refashioning the Self. Theory and Practice in Late Medieval and Early Modern Intellectual Culture, ed. Karl Enenkel and Walter Melion, Intersections, vol. 17. Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2011, pp. 235-56.
  • Soldati in terra straniera. La fede tra Inquisizione e ragion di Stato," Studia Borromaica 23 (2009), 365-89.
  • "An Uneasy Reunion: The Catholic World in Reformation Studies." Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte/ Archive for Reformation History 100 (2009), 366-87.
  • “At Heresy’s Door: Borromeo, Penance and Religious Boundaries in Early Modern Europe,” A New History of Penance, ed. Abigail Firey, Brill, 2008
  • “Spirits of Love: Castiglione and Neoplatonic Discourses of Vision.” In Spirits Unseen: The Representation of Subtle Bodies in Early Modern European Culture, ed. Christine Göttler and Wolfgang Neuber, Intersections. Yearbook for Early Modern Studies 9 (2007), 121-40.
  • “Nobility Contested: Notes on the Expurgation of Castiglione’s Cortegiano.”  In Chiesa cattolica e mondo moderno. Scritti in onore di Paolo Prodi, ed. Adriano Prosperi, Pierangelo Schiera, and Gabriella Zarri.  Bologna: il Mulino, 2007, 65-84.
  • The Conquest of the Soul: Confession, Discipline, and Public Order in Counter-Reformation Milan, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Thought, Brill, 2001
  • (edited and introduced), Johan Huizinga, Le immagini della storia. Scritti 1905-1941 [History and Its Images: Essays, 1905-41], Einaudi, 1993

Selected Grants and Awards

  • Visiting Professorship, The Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, 2009
  • Rome Prize Fellowship, American Academy in Rome, 2002-03
  • Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, 2002-03
  • Lehman Postdoctoral Fellowship, Villa I Tatti, Florence, 1996-97

Work in Progress

Dr. De Boer teaches courses on Renaissance and Reformation Europe, as well as the graduate course on Theories of History. He has two book projects in progress. Castiglione and the Crisis of the Renaissance is a study of Baldassarre Castiglione (1478-1529) and his cultural milieu. The Education of the Senses: The Body, Perception and Behavior in Counter-Reformation Italy is an interdisciplinary study of the five senses in early modern culture. It investigates modes, discourses and practices of perception in connection with codes of conduct, spiritual practice, literary representation, and artistic expression.