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Jessica Hogbin

Contact Information:

PhD Advisor:

Brian Brege

Jessica Hogbin

Ph.D. Student, History Department

Graduate Research Associate, Center for European Studies

Graduate Student Dissertation Title

Innumerable Melancholies: Medicine, Mental Health, and Human Nature in Renaissance Italy, 1450-1650


Jessica Hogbin is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department, where she studies the relationship between medicine, narratives around health, and politics in early modern Italy.

Her research considers melancholy as a means of comprehending Renaissance thought around mental and physical well-being, along with conceptions of human nature and the wider natural world. Her dissertation engages with diverse sources, including court cases, medical treatises, letters, and necrologies, as a means of understanding the wide-reaching impact of medical thought on discussions about mental health and the mind.

She is an active member of the graduate student community at Syracuse University. She previously served as the History Graduate Student Organization’s president, and she is a member of the History Department’s Future Professoriate Program. 

Research Grant Awards and Projects

H.P. Kraus Fellowship, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Barbara Rootenberg Short-term Research Fellowship in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles

Roscoe Martin Fund for Graduate Research, Syracuse University

Goekjian Center for European Studies Award, Syracuse University

Presentations and Events

“Coded Illnesses: Medical Practice and Political Manipulation of Melancholic Women in Early Modern Ciphered Letters,” American Association for the History of Medicine, Kansas City, May 11th, 2024.

“Identifying a Melancholy Sultan: Physiognomy and Cross-Cultural Perception in the Late Renaissance,” Renaissance Society of America 2024, Chicago, March 22nd, 2024.

“Melancholy and Possession: A Case of Spiritual Poisoning in Sixteenth-Century Florence,” Lightning Talks, Global Premodern Studies Faculty Working Group, Syracuse University, December 1st, 2023.

“‘Grande dolore e malinconia’: Melancholy and Medicine in Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron,” 2nd Annual Romance Languages Colloquium, Syracuse University, November 3rd, 2023.

“Melancholy Kings: Loss, Mourning, and Politics Recorded in Renaissance Italy,” History Graduate Student Organization Research Exposition, Syracuse University, November 3rd, 2023.

“Death in Cortona: Debate on Proper Medical Care in Seventeenth-Century Tuscany,” 73rd Annual Meeting of the New York State Association of European Historians, St. Francis College, October 14th, 2023.

“Two Melancholy Habsburgs: Familial Loss and Loneliness in Seventeenth-Century Avvisi,” 5th "Loneliness" International Interdisciplinary Conference, InMind Support, September 28th-29th, 2023.

“Sad, Sullen, Solitary, and Full of Black Choler: Reporting on Melancholic Moods and Illnesses within Tuscan Epistolary Networks, 1532-1650,” Early Modern Connected Histories Workshop, Syracuse University, April 21st, 2023.

“Paying for Care, Participating in Politics: Women and Hospital Donations in 16th Century Rome,” 14th Annual Graduate Conference of the Department of History, Syracuse University, March 24th, 2023.

“Innumerable Melancholies: Italian Physicians and Late Medieval Care for the Body and Mind,” 22nd Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies, Harvard University, March 16th, 2023.

Honors and Accolades

Barbara J. Blaszak Prize, New York State Association of European Historians

Field of Study

Early modern Italy, history of science and medicine, medieval and early modern Europe
History Department
145 Eggers Hall