I am a historian of early modern Europe. Most of my published research has focused on aspects of aristocratic life in France – on clientage networks, on women and warfare, on oral culture and material culture. In my work, I make use of letters, household accounts, muster rolls, inventories of clothing, jewels, furniture and, most recently, weapons from 15th- and 16th-century noblemen and women. See my Research page to learn more.
In recent years I have branched out into writing essays, fiction and memoir. I have two major projects nearing completion that you will find described on the Fiction and Memoir page. At this point in my writing life I have taken up these projects because I want to reflect on lives in the past with more creative license than conventional scholarship allows and to share those explorations with broader audiences. Besides, I have stories to tell.
As Director of the Thompson Writing Program, I supervise an interdisciplinary faculty responsible for teaching academic writing to first-year students. What we bring to students we also give to ourselves: permission to write in messy drafts, to welcome the processes of peer feedback and revision, to value and to hone one’s voice in all genres of writing. On the Pedagogy page, I describe some of the research I’ve conducted on teaching with writing.