Professor Kate Lowe

Professor of Renaissance History and Culture, and Co-director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS)

Location Arts Two 2.03

Email: k.j.p.lowe@qmul.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)207 882 5724

I obtained BA in History from Bedford College, University of London and a PhD in Combined Historical Studies from the Warburg Institute, University of London.

Prior to joining Queen Mary I taught at the Universities of Hong Kong, London, Cambridge, Birmingham and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

I have held research fellowships at I Tatti, Harvard University’s Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies, the National Humanities Centre in the US and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.

I am co-convenor of the research seminar at the IHR on late medieval and early modern Italian history.

Research 

My research is centred on fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italy, but I am also interested in Renaissance Portugal. My current project concerns sub-Saharan Africans and African objects in Southern Europe between 1440 and 1650. Much of my previous research has been interdisciplinary in nature, and I am especially interested in history with a visual or material culture component. I am concurrently working on a project on the early life of the distinguished historian of Renaissance Florence, Nicolai Rubinstein (1911-2002), entitled ‘The intellectual and cultural formation of a refugee scholar: Nicolai Rubinstein between Germany, Italy and Britain, 1920s-1950s’.

Current PhD Students

  • Hannah LeeImprisoned Bodies: The Material Presence of the African figure in Venetian Domestic Furnishings, 1650-1750

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate supervision 

I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:

  • Renaissance Italian history, especially cultural, social and religious history
  • Renaissance Portuguese history
  • Black Africans in Renaissance Europe
  • Nineteenth-century Hong Kong

Publications 

Books

Exhibition Catalogues

  • “Zwei Ansichten der Rua Nova dos Mercadores in Lissabon” (with Annemarie Jordan Gschwend), in Annemarie Jordan Gschwend and Johannes Beltz, eds., Elfenbeine aus Ceylon. Luxusgüter für Katharina von Habsburg (1507-1578) exh. cat. (Zurich, 2010), pp. 49-51, cat. 10a -10b
  • ‘The lives of African slaves and people of African descent in Europe during the Renaissance’, in Joaneath Spicer, ed., Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe, exh. cat. (Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 2012), pp. 12-33
  • ‘Visual representations of an elite: African ambassadors and rulers in Renaissance Europe’, in Joaneath Spicer, ed., Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe, exh. cat. (Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 2012), pp. 98-115

Selected Journal Articles

  • ‘Questions of income and expenditure in Renaissance Rome: a case study of Cardinal Francesco Armellini’, Studies in Church History, 24 (1987), pp. 175-88
  • ‘Female strategies for success in a male-ordered world: the Benedictine convent of Le Murate in Florence in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries’, Studies in Church History, 27 (1990), pp. 209-21
  • ‘Patronage and territoriality in early sixteenth-century Florence’, Renaissance Studies, 7 (1993), pp. 258-71
  • ‘Franciscan and papal patronage at the Clarissan convent of S. Cosimato in Trastevere, 1440-1560’, Papers of the British School at Rome, 68 (2000), pp. 217-39
  • ‘Elections of abbesses and notions of identity in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy, with special reference to Venice’, Renaissance Quarterly, 54 (2001), pp. 389-429
  • ‘Artistic patronage at the Clarissan convent of S. Cosimato in Trastevere, 1400-1603’, Papers of the British School at Rome, 69 (2001), pp. 273-97
  • ‘An alternative account of the alleged Roman conspiracy of 1517’, Roma moderna e contemporanea: una rivista interdisciplinare di storia, 11 (2003), pp. 23-49
  • ‘Lorenza di Giovanni di Baldino (or dei Baldini) da Perugia’s narative of enclosure: the regularization of a third-order Franciscan house in Borgo San Sepolcro in 1500’(with James Banker), Analecta TOR, 179: 3-4 (2007), pp. 443-57 [edited text]
  • ‘“Representing” Africa: ambassadors and princes from Christian Africa to Renaissance Italy and Portugal, 1402-1608’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 17 (2007), pp. 101-28
  • ‘Black Africans’ religious and cultural assimilation to, or appropriation of, Catholicism in Italy, 1470-1520’, Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et réforme, 31: 2 (2008), pp. 67-86
  • ‘Female voice, male authority: a nun’s narrative of the regularization of a female Franciscan house in Borgo San Sepolcro in 1500’ (with James Banker), The Sixteenth Century Journal, 40: 3 (2009), pp. 651-77
  • ‘Africa in the News in Renaissance Italy: News Extracts from Portugal
  • about Western Africa Circulating in Northern and Central Italy in the 1480s and 1490s’, Italian Studies, 65: 3 (2010), pp. 310-28
  • ‘The global consequences of mistranslation: the adoption of the “black but …” formulation in Europe, 1440-1650’, Religions, 3 (2012), pp. 544-55
  • ‘Visible lives: black gondoliers and other black Africans in Renaissance Venice’, Renaissance Quarterly, 66:2 (2013)

Selected Book Chapters

  • ‘Towards an understanding of Goro Gheri’s views on amicizia in early sixteenth‑century Medicean Florence’, in Peter Denley and Caroline Elam eds., Florence and Italy. Renaissance Studies in Honour of Nicolai Rubinstein, Westfield College, University of London Committee for Medieval Studies (London, 1988), pp. 91-105
  • ‘A matter of piety or of family tradition and custom?: the religious patronage of Piero de’ Medici and Lucrezia Tornabuoni’, in Andreas Beyer and Bruce Boucher eds., Piero de’ Medici “il Gottoso”: Kunst im Dienste der Mediceer (Berlin, 1993), pp. 55-69
  • ‘Writing the history of crime in the Italian Renaissance’ (with Trevor Dean), in Trevor Dean and K. J. P. Lowe eds., Crime, Society and the Law in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 1-15
  • ‘The political crime of conspiracy in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Rome’, in Trevor Dean and K. J. P. Lowe eds., Crime, Society and the Law in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 184-203
  • ‘Lorenzo de’ Medici’s “presence” at churches and convents in and outside Florence’, in Michael Mallett and Nicholas Mann eds., Lorenzo the Magnificent: Culture and Politics (London, 1996), pp. 23-36
  • ‘Women’s work at the Benedictine convent of Le Murate in Florence: Suora Battista Carducci’s Roman missal of 1509’, Lesley Smith and Jane Taylor eds., Women and the Book: Assessing the Visual Evidence (London and Toronto, 1996), pp. 133-46
  • ‘Introduction: issues in the history of marriage’, in Trevor Dean and K. J. P. Lowe eds., Marriage in Italy, 1300-1650 (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 1-21
  • ‘Secular brides and convent brides: wedding ceremonies in Italy during the Renaissance and Counter-Reformation’, in Trevor Dean and K. J. P. Lowe eds., Marriage in Italy, 1300-1650 (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 41-65
  • ‘Nuns and choice: artistic decision-making in Medicean Florence’, in Eckart Marchand and Alison Wright eds., With and Without the Medici: Art and Patronage in Florence, 1434-1530 (Basingstoke, 1998), pp. 129-53
  •  ‘Understanding cultural exchange between Portugal and Italy in the Renaissance’, in K. J. P. Lowe ed., Cultural Links between Portugal and Italy in the Renaissance (Oxford, 2000), pp. 1-16
  • ‘Rainha D. Leonor of Portugal’s patronage in Renaissance Florence and cultural exchange’, in K. J. P. Lowe ed., Cultural Links between Portugal and Italy in the Renaissance (Oxford, 2000), pp. 225-48
  • ‘History writing from inside the convent in Cinquecento Italy: the nuns’ version’, in Letizia Panizza ed., Women in Italian Renaissance Culture and Society (Oxford, 2000), pp. 105-21
  • ‘Treason and its prosecution in Italy, 1500-1550: violent responses to violent solutions’, in Barry Coward and Julian Swann eds., Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theory in Early Modern Britain and Europe: From the Waldensians to the French Revolution (Aldershot, 2004), pp. 35-53
  •  ‘Introduction: the black African presence in Renaissance Europe’, in T. F. Earle and K. J. P. Lowe eds., Black Africans in Renaissance Europe (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005), pp. 1-14
  • ‘The stereotyping of black Africans in Renaissance Europe’, in T. F. Earle and K. J. P. Lowe eds., Black Africans in Renaissance Europe (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005), pp. 17-46
  • ‘La place des Africains sub-sahariens dans l’histoire européene, 1400-1600’, in Dieudonné Gnammankou and Yao Modzinou eds., Les Africains et leurs descendants en Europe avant le XXe siècle (Toulouse, 2008), pp. 71-82
  • ‘Isabella d’Este and the acquisition of black Africans at the Mantuan court’, in Philippa Jackson and Guido Rebecchini eds., Mantova e il Rinascimento italiano: Studi in onore di David S. Chambers (Mantua: Editoriale Sometti, 2011)
  • ‘Displaying government treasures in early sixteenth-century Florence’, in Machtelt Israëls and Louis A. Waldman eds.,  Renaissance Studies in Honor of Joe Connors (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2013)
  • ‘Black diaspora in Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with special reference to German-speaking areas’, in Germany and the Black Diaspora: Points of Contact, 1250-1914, ed. Martin Klimke, Anne Kuhlmann-Smirnov and Mischa Honeck, forthcoming in series Studies in Modern German History, 15 (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2013)

Publications on Hong Kong and China

  • ‘Hong Kong, 26 January 1841: hoisting the flag revisited’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Hong Kong Branch, 29 (1989), pp. 8-17
  • ‘Hong Kong’s missing history’, History Today, 41 (December 1991), pp. 8-10
  • ‘Sir John Pope Hennessy and “the native race craze”: the colonial government of Hong Kong, 1877-1882’ (with Eugene McLaughlin), The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 20 (1992), pp. 223-47
  • ‘“An El Dorado of riches and a place of unpunished crime”: the politics of penal reform in colonial Hong Kong, 1878-1881’ (with Eugene McLaughlin), Criminal Justice History: An International Annual, 14 (1993), pp. 57-89
  •  ‘Dollars and dim sum: merchandising Chinese history’, History Today, 45 (1995), pp. 6-8
  • ‘The creation of Hong Kong identity in the twentieth century (in readiness for its translation to the diaspora)’, in Maarit Leskelä ed., Outsiders and Insiders? Constructing Identities in an Integrating Europe (Turku, 1999), pp. 234-54
  • ‘The beliefs, aspirations and methods of the first missionaries in British Hong Kong, 1841-5’, in Hugh McLeod ed., Missions and Missionaries (Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 50-64
  • ‘“Caution! The bread is poisoned”: The Hong Kong mass poisoning of January 1857’ (with Eugene McLaughlin), forthcoming Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 2014

Membership of professional associations or societies

Editorial Positions