The Fellowships Committee is pleased to announce Bert William Carlstrom and Julia Smith have been awarded Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2022-2023. We received 29 applications this year and, as ever, the field was exceptionally strong.
Bert William Carlstrom, ‘Atlantic Religiosities: The Evolution of Identity in the Renaissance Canaries and Caribbean’
This project compares the evolution of the religious and cultural landscape of the Canary and Caribbean islands in the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries. It foregrounds the activity of indigenous islanders and presents these Atlantic encounters as sites of complex negotiation of identity for all parties. These centuries of encounter between Europeans and non-Europeans in the Atlantic generated new political and economic structures, new cosmologies and forms of piety, and even new approaches to the natural world. Europe was acted upon, as much as it was an actor in, these encounters. This project uses ethnographic, archival, anthropologic, and archaeological sources to examine how the peoples of the Canaries and Caribbean interacted with, resisted, appropriated, adopted, and modified Christianity in order to assert their own sense of identity. This project also examines how the imposition of Christianity on these peoples shaped and altered the formation of global Renaissance Christianity.
Julia Smith, ‘Resplendent Piety: Printed Religious Books as Luxury Objects in the Sixteenth Century’
Resplendent Piety is a project about how printed books served as luxury material objects for both Catholic and Lutheran audiences in the German-speaking lands in the early sixteenth century. The project marries two discrete fields in book and art history: the material culture of early printed books, and the impact of the Reformation on religious art. The project has two parts: firstly, it will examine how pre-Reformation Catholic book owners had their printed devotional books lavishly and expensively hand coloured to transform a relatively cheap, mass-produced book into an opulent and unique art object. Secondly, it will explore how, despite Martin Luther’s emphasis on the didactic function of images, and the primacy of the Word of God, sixteenth-century owners of Luther Bibles continued this earlier tradition of lavishly colouring their religious printed books. The project will demonstrate the trans-denominational nature of customising religious books, whereby owners of both confessions invested a spiritually valuable book with significant material value. In doing so, the project will shed new light on how the material culture of religiously significant objects transcended the Reformation in the sixteenth century.