Anna Wainwright, assistant professor of Italian in the department of classics, humanities and Italian studies, has won a research fellowship from the Research Council of Norway for an interdisciplinary multi-year investigation, “The Legacy of Birgitta of Sweden: Women, Politics and Reform in Renaissance Italy.” The project is one of only 7% of research proposals selected for funding by the prestigious Council from a pool of applications that included those in the social sciences and STEM.
The three-year grant provides Wainwright and her collaborator, Professor Unn Falkeid of the University of Oslo, with the resources to lead important new research on Saint Birgitta of Sweden (1303–1373), who lived in Italy and played a major role in the ideological debate over the return of the papacy to Rome from Avignon.
“The project will shed light on Birgitta’s major — and heretofore unexamined — impact on early modern Italian politics, religious movements and women writers,” says Wainwright.
Wainwright will spend the 2019-2020 academic year in residence at the Norwegian Institute in Rome, directing research on the controversies over Birgitta’s prophecies in Renaissance Italy during the Roman Inquisition, and on her major impact on female spirituality across Europe. Wainwright will also complete her current book project, “Widow City: Politics and Widowhood in Early Modern Italy,” in which the widowed Birgitta plays an important role.