Rebecca Messbarger, PhD

Professor of Italian; Art History; History; Performing Arts; International and Area Studies; and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in Arts & Sciences

Dr. Messbarger is co-founder and first director of the Medical Humanities program. Her research centers on Italy in the early modern period. Her books and many articles examine the development of medical science at the intersection of the visual arts, Enlightenment reforms, and the increasing influence of women during this period, and the impact of these developments on public health. More narrowly, she examines representations of the medicalized body in popular eighteenth-century museums as an “enlightened” means to public education, as well as women’s roles in the advancement and dissemination of medical knowledge, including about women’s health. Her book The Lady Anatomist was the inspiration of a new feature length film. Dr. Messbarger’s work in these areas has led to many collaborations with physicians and researchers in the School of Medicine.