Dr Karen McCluskey

Senior Lecturer, HDR co-ordinator, Discipline Head History

Email: karen.mccluskey@nd.edu.au
Phone: 02 8204 4121

  • Biography

    Karen is an art historian, with a particular research focus on the intersection of art and lived religious experience in the later Middle Ages. Her first monograph 'New saints in Late-Mediaeval Venice, 1200-1500: a typological study' was published by Routledge in late 2019, and a chapter called ‘When the Fury of the Proud Sea Re-awoke’: Water, Devotion, and Lived Experience in Renaissance Venice' was  included in a volume on Lived Religion and Everyday Life in Palgrave's Studies in the History of Experience (2019).

    Together with Fremantle campus' Prof Deborah Gare, Karen has initiated a multi-disciplinary, cross-campus research network: 'Visual Evidence Research Network' which aims to encourage collaborative research projects focused on material culture.

    Karen has taught at UNDA since 2006, the year of the university's inception in Sydney. She was awarded a PhD from the Department of Art History and Theory at the University of Sydney in 2006 and also holds a Master’s degree in Art History from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from McMaster University, both in Ontario, Canada.

  • Teaching areas

    Karen teaches courses on many aspects of ancient, mediaeval and Renaissance history, with a particular emphasis on material culture. She has been consistently commended by the Vice Chancellor for strong teaching performance. Particularly important is her philosophy of 'teaching beyond the classroom'. This means that students will regularly learn off-site at local museums, libraries and historical sites where primary evidence is available to see, analyse and experience. In this regard, she is an avid participant in the University's 'Experience the World' programme, co-leading courses to Spain (2013, 2017) and France (2019).

    • Mediaeval and Early Modern European History
    • Art History
    • Lived Experience in history
    • History of Emotions
    • Historiography
    • Themes in Ancient History
  • Research Interests and Current Projects

    Research Interests

    • Saints' relics, sepulchres and art in mediaeval Italy
    • Lived religion and history of emotions
    • Mediaeval pilgrimage
    • Legends and myths
    • Gender in history
    • Historiography

    Current Projects:

    • INSIEME Digital Re-unification Project: Predellas and Altarpieces
    • Ability and Disability in the Late-Mediaeval Painted Vitae of Saints, through a Critical Disability Studies Perspective (with L. St. Guillaume, C. Thill, D. da Silva)
    • The legacy of Greek Classicism in Australian commemorative monuments, with special focus on Darien Pullen’s Winged Victory 2015
  • Research Supervision

    Mediaeval and early modern history and art history, especially saints/devotion, gender, identity, history of emotions/experience, historiography, myths and legends. Topics in ancient history.

    Recent supervision

    Designing Faith in Printed Books of Hours [current]

    Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral and the Identity of the Historical Sydney Catholic Community [current]
    The Cults of Catherine of Siena: a Study of her Images in Context [current]

    MPhil: Imagining the Nation: the British Past and Nationalist Present in the British Museum, 1850-1914 [successful completion, 2020]

    The Dynamic Legacy of the Predella [2019]

  • Books

    New Saints in Late-Mediaeval Venice: a typological study. Abingdon & New York: Routledge, 2020

  • Book chapters

    • 'When the Fury of the Proud Sea Re-awoke': Water, Devotion and Lived Experience in Renaissance Venice' in Lived Religion and Everyday Life in Early Modern Hagiographical Materials (Palgrave Studies in the History of Experience) Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
    • Ability and Disability in the Late-Mediaeval Painted Vitae of Saints, through a Critical Disability Studies Perspective. Routledge Campanion to Art and Disability. Routledge, forthcoming (with Louise St Guillaume, Cate Thill and Daniela da Silva)
  • Journal articles and proceedings

    • McCluskey, Karen. 'Official Sanctity alla Veneziana: Gerardo, Pietro Orseolo and Giacomo Salomani' Conserveries mémorielles [En ligne], #14 | 2013, mis en ligne le 01 juillet 2013, consulté le 29 août 2013.
      URL : http://cm.revues.org/1718
    • McCluskey, K. Miraculous Visions: Apparitio in the Vitae of Mediaeval Venetian Saints and Beati’ IKON, Journal of Iconographic Studies, vol. 6 (2013): 167-181.
  • Conference papers

    'Acqua Alta: Venice, Water and Saints'. Finish Institute in Rome Workshop. Rome Italy.

    'From local obscurity to civic heroes: the elevation of domestic saints and ‘beati’ in Venice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries' Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS), Victoria University, Wellington New Zealand

    'Ajax and Anzacs: Greek classicism, Australia and the Great War' World History Association Conference Ghent, Belgium (in collaboration with Dr Christine de Matos, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney)

    'Medieval Festival: a journey of interdisciplinary learning and teaching' Sydney 2015 Forum: Team-based learning and teaching The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney (in collaboration with Jane Bergeron and Michael Pigott [theatre studies] and Renee Kohler-Ryan [philosophy], University of Notre Dame Sydney)

    El Greco’s Burial of Count Orgaz: a problem of interpretation, UNDA Art History Mini-Conference

    'Bellum iustum: hagiography and Venetian imperialism in the later Middle Ages', WHA conference: Faith, Empire and Conflict, Fremantle, WA
    'Local Sanctity in Late-Mediaeval Venice: convergences and divergences' Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, San Diego, USA

    'Happiness for Dummies: Saints' Lives and the Possibility of Happiness in the Later Middle Ages', Happiness Symposium, Arts and Sciences, UNDA Sydney

    'Miraculous Visions: Apparitio in the Vitae of Mediaeval Venetian Saints and Beati', 'Visions' 6th International Conference of Iconographic Studies, University of Rijeka, Croatia

    'Official Sanctity alla veneziana: Pietro Orseolo, Gerardo da Venezia and Giacomo Salomani', Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, Venice, Italy

  • Curated exhibitions or events

    Karen contributed to the organisation and presentation of a major Mediaeval Festival called 'Keeping up with the Pilgrims' in November 2014. A multi-disciplinary event, coordinated along with Dr. Renee Kohler-Ryan (Senior lecturer, Philosophy), Ms. Jane Bergeron (Senior lecturer and discipline head, Theatre Studies) and Mr. Michael Pigott (Lecturer, Theatre Studies), the mediaeval festival was a unique learning experience for students of all three disciplines, as well as the lecturers and audience members. Throughout the semester, the Philosophy, Theatre Studies and History students all focused on the central theme of pilgrimage through analysis of a common text: Geoffrey Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' (end 14th century). At the festival, students of each discipline presented their final works: mediaeval disputations (philosophy), digital media projects on relevant mediaeval objects (history) and a performance of the Canterbury Tales (theatre). Combining in-class learning, interdisciplinary exchanges and discipline-specific resources, the event was a huge success and a model for cutting edge, interactive teaching and learning.

  • Professional affiliations

    • VERN: Visual Evidence Research Network
    • Anzamems (Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies)
    • Society for the History of Emotions
    • Hagiography Society
    • Finnish Institute in Rome
    • Historical Consultant: restoration of Lazzaro Bastiani's Episodes of the Life of Leone Bembo, late 15th century; collaboration with Croatian Conservation Institute/Hrvatski Restauratorski Zavod, Zagreb http://www.h-r-z.hr/
  • Awards

    • Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation for Venetian Research (UK): Commonwealth Research Grant
    • Italian Culture Research Grant: Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Rome
    • IPA and IPRS, University of Sydney
    • RIS Seed Grant, University of Notre Dame
    • Samuel H. Kress Travel Grant, USA
  • Other

    Professional collaboration with:
    Dr Christine de Matos on a special feature on Australia, Classicism and the Great War (forthcoming)
    Dr. Višnja Bralić of the Croatian Conservation Institute/Hrvatski Restauratorski Zavod, Zagreb on an analysis of Lazzaro Bastiani's predella panels representing the cult of Leone Bembo, c. 1485 (2011-14).