Jutta Sperling

Associate Professor of History

School of Social Science

Hampshire College


curriculum vitae

Teaching Interests:

I teach a variety of courses on the history of Early Modern Europe, with a special interest in Renaissance Italy, the Portuguese Empire, and the Atlantic World. The topics I address in my courses revolve around issues of women and gender, the body and sexuality, religion and spirituality, and, most recently: visual culture. In order to accommodate students interested in our Berlin program, I occasionally teach classes on German history as well.

course repertoire

Current Research Interests:

I am editing -- with Shona K. Wray -- a volume of articles on early modern women's property rights in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic communities. Scheduled to appear under the provisional title Across the Religious Divide: Women's Property Rights in the Wider Mediterranean (ca. 1300-1800), it argues that differences in women's property rights cut across religious divisions. While upper-class ladies in Venice, Cairo, and Istanbul had comparable access to properties, notable differences existed between Portuguese and Italian women's property rights, and between urban and rural women in the Ottoman Empire.

In addition, I am working on a monograph on iconographies of lactation in Renaissance and Baroque art, with a special focus on the "Roman Charity." This lactation scene can be interpreted to highlight tensions between fathers and daughters at a time when the patrilineal organization of kinship and inheritance came to be increasingly contested. A related topic I am currently investigating is the representation of charity in the works of Tintoretto.

Recent Publications:

Convents and the Body Politic in Late Renaissance Venice (University of Chicago Press, 1999).

Winner of the Marraro Prize of the Society for Italian Historical Studies, 2000;

Honorable Mention of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, 2000.


"Dowry or Inheritance? Kinship, Property, and Women's Agency in Lisbon, Venice, Florence (1572)",

Journal of Early Modern History, vol. 11 no. 3 (2007): 197-238.



“Women's Property Rights in Portugal under Dom João I (1385-1433).  A Comparison with Renaissance Italy," Portuguese Studies Review, vol. 13, no. 1 (2005): 1-33.



“Marriage at the Time of the Council of Trent (1560-70): Clandestine Marriages, Kinship Prohibitions, and Dowry Exchange in European Comparison,” Journal of Early Modern History, vol. 8, no. 1-2 (2004): 67-108.



“The Paradox of Perfection: Reproducing the Body Politic in Late Renaissance Venice,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 41, no. 1 (1999): 3-32.