My research explores how theatre and medicine intersect during the medieval and early modern periods.
My award-winning dissertation, “Deceptive Medicine and (Dis)Trust in Renaissance Drama,” revises our understanding of early modern medical credibility by showing how deceptive and theatrical medical practices simultaneously exploited and substantiated patient trust. Recent recovery work has contested the traditional view of charlatans, empirics, and wise women healers as fraudulent “quacks,” but I clarify how both licensed physicians and lay practitioners subtly manipulated patients’ imaginations to induce lasting placeboic recoveries. These curative tricks, whose efficacy relied on deception, informed early modern medical ethics by contraposing beneficence and patient autonomy and by prompting consequentialist questions about the means and ends of medicine. Through readings of linguistically diverse plays by Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Brome, and Molière, this project traces transcultural sentiments of medical confidence and skepticism that shaped patient-practitioner relationships. I conclude that Renaissance medicine’s teleological focus on restoring and preserving health reinforced paternalistic practices in which the cure justified the deceptive means.
Howell-Voitle Award (for outstanding work on a dissertation in the Early Modern Period), Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2020
McLendon-Thomas Award in the History of Medicine, Paper title: “The Fabrica, the Epitome, and Issues of Accessibility in Early Modern Anatomy,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2018
Future Faculty Fellowship, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2017
Grant-in-Aid Award, “A Folger Introduction to Research Methods and Agendas” Seminar taught by Alan B. Farmer, Folger Shakespeare Library, 2015