Strickland, Debra Higgs 1958- (Debra Hassig)

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Strickland, Debra Higgs 1958- (Debra Hassig)


Born October 15, 1958, in Yonkers, NY. Education: University of Colorado, B.Mus., 1980; Columbia University, M.A. (anthropology), 1987, M.A. (art history), 1988, M.Phil., 1990, Ph.D., 1993.


Office—Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of Glasgow, 12 University Gardens, Glasgow G12 5WW, Scotland. E-mail—[email protected].


University of Oregon, Eugene, member of art history faculty, 1994-95; University of Oklahoma, Norman, faculty member at Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1995-97; University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, visiting research fellow at Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, 1998-99, member of art history faculty, 1999-2005, honorary fellow in art history, 2001—. University of Toronto, member of fine arts faculty, 1995-96; University of Glasgow, honorary research fellow, 1999-2003, affiliate of Glasgow Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2003-06, deputy director of Glasgow Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006—; Princeton University, visiting fellow, 2001-02; International Center of Medieval Art, domestic lecturer, 2006.


Jerry Stannard Memorial Award, University of Kansas, 1991, for the article "Transplanted Medicine"; Whiting fellow, 1991-92; fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1999; British Academy grant, 2000.


(Under name Debra Hassig) Medieval Bestiaries: Text, Image, Ideology, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor, under name Debra Hassig, and contributor) The Mark of the Beast: The Medieval Bestiary in Art, Life, and Literature, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1999.

Saracens, Demons, and Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2003.

(Editor and contributor) Images of Medieval Sanctity: Essays in Honour of Gary Dickson, E.J. Brill (Leiden, Netherlands), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Image and Belief: Studies in Celebration of the Eightieth Anniversary of the Index of Christian Art, edited by Colum Hourihane, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1999; Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism, Anti-Semitism, and European Visual Culture before 1800, edited by Mitchell B. Merback, E.J. Brill (Leiden, Netherlands), 2007; Others and Outcasts in Early Modern Europe: Picturing the Social Margins, edited by Tom Nichols, Ashgate Publishing (Aldershot, England), 2007; and Languages of Love and Hate, 1100-1500, edited by Sarah Lambert and Lis James, Brepols (Turnhout, Belgium), 2007. Contributor to periodicals, including History Today, Res, and Viator. Writings prior to 2000 appeared under name Debra Hassig.


Debra Higgs Strickland told CA: "My art historical research and writing are driven by a concern with the history of social rejection and the ways in which medieval art actively shaped Christians' perceptions of themselves and of others. Initially growing from my graduate studies in art history and anthropology, this interest has been fueled in recent years by my experiences as an American living in the United Kingdom and by observations of the devastating effects of bigotry and racism across the world. Inspired chiefly by the pioneering work of Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, I am also interested in the theoretical concept of the monstrous, and how medieval monsters literally embodied both positive and negative projections of the self. This is a problem that I am also exploring through the study of animal imagery in a continuation of my earlier studies on medieval bestiaries.

"My approach to medieval visual culture has been greatly influenced by that of other art historians, especially Meyer Schapiro (1904-1996), Michael Camille (1958-2002), Ruth Mellinkoff, and Keith Moxey. Saracens, Demons, and Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art owes a significant debt to all of these writers, who first raised the issues and developed theoretical approaches relevant to many of the key questions that I try to address in this book, including: Why do stereotyped images of non-Christians, especially Jews and Muslims, look the way they do? What was the relationship between medieval pictorial imagery and literary modes of expression? To what extent were works of art active agents in the formulation of Christian attitudes toward those whose beliefs and ethnicities positioned them outside the white, Christian mainstream?

"My next book will be on the painting of Hieronymus Bosch, in particular his representations of non-Christians, their relationship to medieval tradition, and their shifting significance from Bosch's day through the Reformation. Thematically, this new book will be closely related to Saracens, Demons, and Jews, but will also pay close attention to how the reformists appropriated medieval artistic traditions relevant to the representation of Jews and Turks and redeployed them in the service of the new Protestant religion."