Associate Professor of History
Dr. DeSilva is the Assistant Chairperson for the History Department.
Teaching and Research Specialties:
- Europe 1300-1700
- Italy & the Papal Court
- The political, cultural, and social history of the Renaissance and Reformation
Description of Current Research:
Dr. DeSilva's research focuses on issues of identity-building, authority, and behavioral reform in early modern Europe. She has published many journal articles and chapters on these topics, as well as editing two collections of essays on the appearance of these issues in the early modern world. After graduating from the University of Toronto (PhD 2007, Canada), she taught at Eastern Connecticut State University, before joining the faculty of Ball State University in 2010. Currently she is pursuing two research projects. The first project examines the early modern College of Cardinals as a demographic and social population that experienced distinct financial and cultural pressures. These resulted in several changes that left the College prey to deep-rooted criticism, but also a more heterodox institution. The second project investigates the strategies that patrician families in the Italian city of Bologna pursued from 1400 to 1700 in order to achieve social and political advancement, with particular interest in the de' Grassi family. This project uses digital tools to explore the experience and benefits of office-holding by both clergy and laymen in the pursuit of social mobility.