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Katy Ferrari

Ph.D. Student

Major Field

Early Modern Europe

Other Fields

Medieval Europe, Modern Europe, Colonial America

Courses Taught

  • HIST 101 Western Civilization: Antiquity-1600
  • HIST 102 Western Civilization: 1600-present 


Matthew Vester

Research Interests

Ms. Ferrari is interested in the relationship between early modern kinship, politics, and the law. Her dissertation focuses on lawsuits in which elite women in seventeenth-century Turin asserted inheritance claims against other family members. In these contentious lawsuits, the private mixed with the political as women sought support from powerful patrons at the court of the duke of Savoy to influence their legal battles. Ms. Ferrari’s study examines the extent to which these courtly patrons exerted pressure in lawsuits to shift the balance of justice.

Her BA thesis at Wellesley College considered the strategies that Renaissance families employed to achieve honor and status and the extent to which one family, the Strozzi, struggled to maintain their honor during their exile from Florence. She recently published “Kinship and the Marginalized Consort: Giovanna d’Austria at the Medici Court” in Early Modern Women Journal, a comparative project analyzing the obstacles confronting foreign consorts as they navigated new relationships with their marital families while under pressure to remain loyal to their natal families.

Ms. Ferrari is currently in Turin, Italy on a Fulbright Research Fellowship.