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Dr Sarah Cockram
Lecturer in History
Sarah Cockram is a historian of late medieval and early modern Europe, particularly Renaissance Italy.
Her first book was on gender, image, and power, focussing on the co-rule of Isabella d’Este and Francesco Gonzaga in Renaissance Mantua.
This work led Sarah to study animals at the Renaissance court and their importance in projecting power, looking for instance at horses, dogs, birds, giraffes and elephants.
Sarah held a Leverhulme Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh for her project Courtly Creatures: Animals and Image Construction in Renaissance Italy and she is now finishing a monograph on this topic. An article about the expertise and interspecies communication of handlers of exotic animals, such as mahouts, lion tamers, and the trainers of hunting cheetahs, is forthcoming in a Special Issue on animals of the journal Renaissance Studies, co-guest edited by Sarah Cockram and Stephen Bowd.
Sarah’s work in historical animal studies and courtly creatures also concentrates on companion animals. At the international conference Between Apes and Angels: Human and Animal in the Early Modern World, held in Edinburgh in 2015 and co-organised by Sarah Cockram, Stephen Bowd and Andrew Wells, Sarah presented on a tiny exotic cat carried around in a sleeve. A volume drawing from that conference is forthcoming with Routledge called Interspecies Interactions: Animals and Humans between the Middle Ages and Modernity.
Sarah took up a post in History at the University of Glasgow in September 2014.
Research and Teaching Interests
Within wider interests in the history of medicine, history of veterinary medicine, history of emotions and history of the senses, Sarah Cockram’s current work investigates proximity and affective bonds between people and companion animals. It asks: what is the importance of tactility and stroking? What did it mean to live side by side with companion animals at the Renaissance court? How did people feel about their cats and dogs (not to mention squirrels and monkeys etc)? How did living with these animals affect their owners, physically and psychologically? And, of equal importance, what about the animals?
- College of Arts, School of Humanities