Dr. Alison Smith



Office Hours

Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30-2:30 pm
Tuesdays 2:00-4:00 pm
(And By Appointment)


  • Ph.D. The Johns Hopkins University, 1990
  • M.A. The Johns Hopkins University, 1983
  • A.B. Vassar College, 1977

Spring 2015 Class Schedule

  • HI239-LC Table to Lab: Exploring Food Choice Past and Present ---2:40-4:10 pm--- M/W---
  • HI297 The Historian as Detective: Exploring the City --- 4:20-5:50 pm--- M/W---

Teaching Interests

I teach the courses offered by the department on Europe and the Western world before the modern era.  I am particularly interested in the Italian renaissance and early modern European cultural history, as well as gender and urban life.  My courses range from an advanced seminar in Renaissance Italy to courses on ancient Mediterranean cities, the world of the crusades, gender and sexuality, and early modern popular culture.  My work in Wagner’s learning communities has lead me to develop teaching interests in New York City (especially themes of immigrant identity), the history of food, and the politics of hunger.

Research Interests

I focus on the social history of early modern Italy, gender, and urban elites, and I do most of my primary research in the state archives of Verona and Venice.  I am also interested in the history and politics of food and sociability.  I have published articles on women, material culture and sociability in sixteenth-century Verona and I am working on a book-length monograph on one of the oldest and most influential musical academies in Italy, the Accademia Filarmonica, founded in Verona in 1543.

Life Experiences

I am a native New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan.  My husband grew up in Verona, Italy, so we speak both Italian and English at home with our two daughters, and we maintain close ties to family and friends in Verona.  I’m an enthusiastic cook, an amateur musician and a passionate fan of New York’s outer boroughs.