Fellowship / Fellows

Jennifer Nelson

  • 2023–2024
  • Humanities
  • Hilles Bush Fellow
  • University of Delaware
Portrait of Jennifer Nelson
Photo by Kevin Grady/Harvard Radcliffe Institute

Jennifer Nelson is an associate professor of early modern art at the University of Delaware and the author of Disharmony of the Spheres: The Europe of Holbein’s Ambassadors (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019). Their work focuses on 16th century Europe’s cultural construction of concepts of difference and community.

Nelson’s Radcliffe project links a new theory of art’s emergent properties in the Renaissance with an account of these properties’ misuse in the late 16th century at the geographic and conceptual borders of Christendom during European expansion of trade routes and territories. In Europe, art emerges as a conceptual category precisely during such expansion. “Border Arts of Early World Christendom” shows how a distortion of this new category of objects allowed Christian Europeans to prepare publics to identify, exclude, and exploit peoples—from Southeast Asia, New Spain, southeastern Europe, and the war-torn Low Countries—who did not satisfy Christian cultural and bodily norms.

Previously supported by the Clark Art Institute, a National Endowment for the Humanities–funded summer institute in cartography at the Newberry Library, the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Institute for Research in the Humanities, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Nelson holds degrees from Yale University, New York University, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and Harvard College. Her articles have most recently appeared in the Art Bulletin, Art History, and Word & Image. She is a founding editor of Selva: A Journal of the History of Art and the author of three books of poetry.

Our 2023–2024 Fellows

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