The Team

The historical map of Florence
wasn’t built in a day.

DECIMA is the collaborative product of a dedicated team of researchers from the Department of History at the University of Toronto and the Department of History at Brock University. With the help and continued support of a network of international collaborators, DECIMA has continued to grow. Ongoing technical development is made possible thanks to the support of the Information and Instructional Technology Services (IITS) at the University of Toronto.

Below are listed the DECIMA contributors and supporters, and you can also certainly contact us.

Faculty and Researchers

Nicholas Terpstra

Nicholas Terpstra

Principal Investigator

I teach renaissance and early modern History at the University of Toronto.  My research lies at the intersections of politics, gender, religion, and charity, and has explored how Renaissance cities handled orphans, abandoned children, criminals, and the poor in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  One recent book, Cultures of Charity: Women, Politics, and the Reform of Poor Relief in Renaissance Italy (Harvard University Press, 2013) won prizes from the Renaissance Society of America and the American Historical Association. The most recent monograph, Religious Refugees in the Early Modern World:  An Alternative History of the Reformation (Cambridge University Press, 2015) asks how we might re-interpret the Reformation if we recognize it as the time in European history when the religious refugee emerges as a mass phenomenon. My current research into sensory conceptions of space in Renaissance Florence was the impetus for creating DECIMA as a digital tool mapping social, sensory, and built environments.

Colin Rose

Colin Rose

Co-Principal Investigator

I am an historian of early modern Italy, and my research interests focus on how communities constituted and managed themselves in unstable worlds of poverty, precarious work and potential violence. I teach at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, where I am Associate Professor of European and Digital History. As the Lead RA and now Co-Principal Investigator for DECIMA, I have been responsible for overseeing project design and execution, and for GIS cartography. HGIS allows me to better understand the role of physical space, and movement through it, in shaping the daily lives of early modern city dwellers. Whether looking at the residential patterns of particular professions or the prosecution of violent crime, location mattered in early modern Europe, and I am always interested in flexible and dynamic ways to explore the relationships between space, social action and spatial representations of behaviour. I have previously published on the roles HGIS can play in the study of early modern Florentine history, on vendetta and its prosecution in Bologna, and on petitioning in Parma.

Jennifer DeSilva

Jennifer DeSilva

Research Collaborator (PhD Toronto 2007)

I am a newly-appointed Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, in Renaissance Studies and Digital Humanities. I taught at Ball State University from 2010, where I published on early modern Rome and Bologna, as well as on Florentine sex workers and teaching with the DECIMA Project. My other research includes work on the Offices of Ceremonies at the papal court, the College of Cardinals, and papal kin. I am also one of the editors of the Sixteenth Century Journal.

Daniel Jamison

Daniel Jamison

Post-Doctoral Researcher, 2018-present

I hold a doctorate from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, where I specialized in the political and economic history of late medieval Lucca. My dissertation used the records of the gabella maggiore, the Lucchese customs tax, to contextualize the decision-making process of the city’s fiscal legislators at the end of the fourteenth century. Although my material differs vastly from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century censuses, I have tried to bring my zest for administrative documents to the Florentine ricerche at the core of the DECIMA project. Beginning in 2011, I helped transcribe and encode the 1561/2 data, and I am currently leading a team of RAs working on censuses from 1551 and 1632. My chapter in Mapping Space, Sense, and Movement in Florence focused on the role played by institutional landlords in the urban property market.

Research Assistants

Charlotte Clarke

Charlotte Clarke

Research Assistant

I am beginning my doctoral studies at the University of Toronto’s History department. My research interests center around broader histories of gender and sexuality, bodily history, sensory history, and the history of medicine and health. In my PhD, I plan to examine histories of reproductive and sexual health, with a particular interest in gynaecological practices in premodern Tuscany.

 
I have previously been involved in research projects spanning from Cape Breton’s military and industrial histories to Indigenous Astronomy Knowledge, having completed my BA at Cape Breton University in 2022. Currently, I am an academic don at Trinity College and am finishing my MA at the University of Toronto. I am incredibly honoured to join the wonderful team of DECIMA scholars by working on transcribing Siena’s 1580 census.
Ariana Ellis

Ariana Ellis

Communications Manager, Research Assistant

I am a doctoral candidate in the University of Toronto’s Department of History. My work utilizes sensory, social, and emotional history, focusing on the relationship between popular culture and the civic rituals of public execution in 15th and 16th century Venice and London. I completed a BA in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, and a Masters in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval studies. On the DECIMA team I work as a researcher and filmmaker, transcribing entries from 17th century census documents and creating videos to increase public engagement. 

Jason Papagiannis

Jason Papagiannis

Research Assistant

I am a MA student at the University of Toronto studying the Greek diaspora across the Mediterranean during the Early Modern period. I graduated from McGill University where I majored in History and Religious Studies and came to Toronto to delve deeper into my research interests. I am currently sorting through available census data from Livorno, helping to map and categorize the Greek population of the city. I look forward to working with the DECIMA project.

Heather Smith

Heather Smith

Research Assistant

My work focuses on using digital humanities methods, such as digital mapping and audio recording, to animate the sounds and music of the street in early modern Italy. I then apply these methods to investigate how sound interacted with neighborhoods in the city, and its role in daily life. I am particularly interested in civic rituals as soundscapes of early modern life.
 
I hold an Honours Bachelor of Music in musicology and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in History and Medieval and Medievalism Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. My M.A., which was supported by a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, explored the soundscapes of Savonarolan Florence. I am now working toward my PhD in history at the University of Toronto. I am very excited to be part of the next phase of the DECIMA project and its potential for sensory and spatial research.
Steven Teasdale

Steven Teasdale

Research Assistant

I completed my PhD in the Department of History at the University of Toronto in 2022. My research centered on early modern Genoese merchant networks in the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, in particular examining the intersections of slavery, banking, commerce and humanism. As part of the DECIMA team I have worked on transcribing entries from various census documents and developing a robust data model for the project. I was also involved in the development of a database of Genoese merchants from 1348 to 1528 as well as a portal for the digitized versions of the Rerum Italicarum Scriptores with the ITER gateway team.

Emeritus DECIMA Researchers

Eric Pecile

Eric Pecile

Research Assistant

Jasmine Proteau

Jasmine Proteau

Research Affiliate

Julia Rombough

Julia Rombough

Research Affiliate

Ariana Sider

Ariana Sider

Research Assistant

Hana Suckstorff

Hana Suckstorff

Research Assistant

Spirit Waite

Spirit Waite

Research Assistant

Justine Walden

Justine Walden

Post-Doctoral Researcher, 2016-2018

Ben Woodward

Ben Woodward

Co-op Student

Acknowledgements

The Archivio di Stato di Firenze

The Archivio di Stato di Livorno

The University of Florence

The University of Livorno

  • Lucia Frattarelli-Fischer

Computing in the Humanities & Social Sciences (CHASS),
Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto

  • Philip Wright
  • Andreea Georghe

Map and Data Library, University of Toronto Libraries, University of Toronto

Geography and Planning, Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz / Max-Planck-Institut, Florence

I Tatti, Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence

Monografik, Toronto

  • Andrew Robinson

Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto

  • Colin Furness
  • Caeleigh Moffat
  • Liz Murray
  • Hana Nagel
  • Abayomi Osamiluyi

ESRI Toronto

  • Michael Luubert
  • Krista Amolins
  • David Kossowsky

 

This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Archivio di Stato di Firenze

Archivio di Stato di Livorno

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