UMass Boston


Shannon McHugh

Modern Languages Lit, Cultures
Associate Professor
Program Director of Italian Studies; Affiliated Faculty in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Affiliated Faculty in Cinema Studies
McCormack Hall Floor 04

Area of Expertise

Italian and French Renaissance literature; gender studies (women’s writing, masculinity studies); religious culture, especially in the Counter-Reformation; history of medicine; history of participatory fan culture (cheap print, fan fiction, immersive spaces); Disney adaptations of European high culture.


PhD New York University

BA University of Southern California

Professional Publications & Contributions



Published monographs

2023 Petrarch and the Making of Gender in Renaissance Italy. Amsterdam University Press.

A new history of early modern gender, demonstrating poetry's disruptive potential for imagining fluid ideals of masculinity and femininity, as well as more progressive social gendered roles.

In progress monographs

Women's Reproductive Lives in Renaissance French and Italian Lyric Poetry. Research in progress at Huntington Library, 2023-24 Long-Term Fellowship.

A study of the history of women's reproductive bodies, comparing early modern medical texts’ depictions with those found in poetry by men and women from Italy and France.


Co-edited volumes

2021 Vittoria Colonna: Poetry, Religion, Art, Impact. Co-edited with Virginia Cox. Amsterdam University Press.

2020 Innovation in the Italian Counter-Reformation. Co-edited with Anna Wainwright. University of Delaware Press.

2015 Diodata Malvasia. Writings on the Sisters of San Luca and Their Miraculous Madonna. The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe series. Co-edited and co-translated with Danielle Callegari. Iter Press.



Single-authored articles

2021 "'I Take Thee': Vittoria Colonna, Conjugal Verse, and Male Poeti Colonnesi." In Vittoria Colonna: Poetry, Religion, Art, Impact. Edited by Virginia Cox and Shannon McHugh. Amsterdam University Press.

2020 "Devotion, Desire, and Masculinity in Angelo Grillo." In Innovation in the Italian Counter-Reformation. Edited by Shannon McHugh and Anna Wainwright. University of Delaware Press.

2018 "Authority, Religion, and Women Writers in the Italian Counter-Reformation: Teaching Diodata Malvasia's Histories." Religions 9.4: 120–31. Special issue edited by Jane Tylus.

2014 "A Guided Tour of Heaven and Hell: The Otherworldly Journey in Chiara Matraini and Lucrezia Marinella." Early Modern Women 9.1: 25–46.

2013 "Rethinking Vittoria Colonna: Gender and Desire in the Rime Amorose." The Italianist 33.3: 345–60.


Co-authored articles

2018 "Playing Papal Politics: Senatorial and Monastic Allies in Early Modern Bologna." Co-authored with Danielle Callegari. Renaissance Studies 32.4: 602–18.

2017 "From Helicon to Hollywood: A Dialogue on Veronica Franco and Dangerous Beauty." Interview, co-authored with Margaret F. Rosenthal, Early Modern Women 11.2: 94–114.

2011 "'Se fossimo tante meretrici': The Rhetoric of Resistance in Diodata Malvasia's Convent Narrative." Co-authored with Danielle Callegari. Italian Studies 66.1: 21–39.


Public humanities publications

2023 "Equals 6 at UMass Boston and Frank Bowling's Americas." Co-authored with Sam Toabe and John A. Tyson. Online catalogue entry, MFA Boston Frank Bowling's Americas exhibition.

2021 "Titian's Powerful Patrons: Vittoria Colonna." Blog post, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's Inside the Collection blog. Nov. 30.

2021 "Disney Changes Aren't Wokeness, They're Part of Parks' Legacy." Op-ed commentary, Orlando Sentinel. May 5.

Additional Information

Recent honors

2023–24 Long-Term Fellowship, The Huntington Library: Molina Fellowship in History of Medicine and Allied Sciences


University leadership

Catherine Frisone Scott Center for Italian Cultural Studies

Museum Partnerships Committee and Faculty Board Catherine (former co-chair)