Nicholas Terpstra

Victoria College


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

Renaissance & Early Modern Italy; refugees; digital mapping.


I am currently working on expanding a digital map of sixteenth century Florence that has been developed as the DECIMA (Digitally Encoded Census Information and Mapping Archive) project; see Mapping Space, Sense, and Movement in Florence: Historical GIS and the Early Modern City (Routledge: 2016). My most recent work looked at historical backgrounds to the refugee crisis: Religious Refugees in the Early Modern World (Cambridge: 2015). 

Beyond that, much of my work has been at the intersections of politics, gender, charity, and religion; books include Cultures of Charity: Women, Politics, and the Reform of Poor Relief in Renaissance Italy (Harvard: 2013) which won the Marraro Prize of the American Historical Association and the Goodhart Gordan Prize of the Renaissance Society of America; Lost Girls: Sex and Death in Renaissance Florence (Johns Hopkins: 2010); Abandoned Children of the Italian Renaissance: Orphan Care in Florence and Bologna (Johns Hopkins: 2005);  and Lay Confraternities and Civic Religion in Renaissance Bologna (Cambridge: 1995), which was awarded the Marraro Prize of the Society for Italian Historical Studies.

I have also edited a number of essay collections including: Faith’s Boundaries: Laity & Clergy in Early Modern Confraternities (Brepols: 2012), The Art of Executing Well: Rituals of Execution in Renaissance Italy (Truman: 2008), The Politics of Ritual Kinship: Confraternities and Social Order in Early Modern Italy (Cambridge: 2000), Sociability & Its Discontents: Social Capital & Civil Society in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe with N. Eckstein (Brepols: 2008), The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools, and Studies with K. Eisenbichler (Toronto: 2008), and The Renaissance in the 19th Century with Y. Portebois (Toronto: 2003).


PhD, University of Toronto