Dr Catherine Fletcher
+44 (0)114 22 22615
Jessop West 3.03
Catherine Fletcher joined the History Department in September 2012. She graduated in Politics and Communication Studies from the University of Liverpool in 1996 and later worked for the BBC Political Unit, including as a researcher and TV producer. In 2004 she returned to full-time academic life to study for a PhD in History, which she completed in 2008 at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has held fellowships at the Institute for Historical Research, British School at Rome and European University Institute. Before moving to Sheffield she was Lecturer in Early Modern History at Durham University.
Catherine’s first book, Our Man in Rome: Henry VIII and his Italian Ambassador, was published in 2012. Written for a broad audience, it tells the inside story of Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon from the point of view of Henry’s ambassador in Rome. It will be published in paperback in 2013 retitled The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story.
Membership of Professional Bodies
Catherine’s research explores how the system of resident diplomacy we know today developed at the papal court in Rome during the later 15th and early 16th century. She is interested in the everyday practice of diplomacy and the structures that underpinned it, and analyses ambassadors' activities in their social and cultural context. Her research roams into such diverse areas as the domestic environment, liturgical space and family networks, and she is currently completing a monograph on diplomatic practice in Renaissance Rome.
Alongside this project Catherine is developing a new research theme on public histories of the Italian Renaissance. This will explore the presentation and reception of the Renaissance in the city of Florence and beyond, investigating its cultural significance in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Catherine’s research interests are, broadly, in the history of Renaissance and early modern Europe (especially Italy and England). Her work to date has explored the cultures of politics and diplomacy in the later fifteenth and sixteenth century – a theme in part inspired by her own experience of working in political environments. She has a growing interest in the reception and communication of Renaissance history – in museums, popular culture, fiction, film and online – and in the uses of history in the contemporary world.
Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement
Catherine’s research on Henry VIII’s divorce was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book and BBC Radio 3’s Night Waves programmes, received extensive coverage in local and national press and will be the subject of talks at Kenilworth and Chalke Valley History festivals in summer 2012.
In her previous career Catherine produced TV programmes on historical topics for BBC Parliament. In 2008-09 she ran an outreach project for the Open University, piloting employer engagement work with heritage sites in Kent and Medway. From 2007-09 she taught early modern history on-site at Hampton Court Palace, through a partnership between Birkbeck College, collaborating with curators, conservators and interpreters. She is looking forward to developing new public engagement partnerships in and around Sheffield.
Research Supervision and Teaching
Catherine Fletcher welcomes enquiries from postgraduate students working on topics related to public history or early modern Britain and Europe – and would be keen to supervise projects that combine these two themes.
Current PhD Students
Administrative Roles and Responsibilities
- Our Man in Rome: Henry VIII and his Italian Ambassador (London: Bodley Head, 2012). US edition, retitled The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story from Inside the Vatican, forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan, June 2012.
- Italian ambassadorial networks in early modern Europe. Special edition of the Journal of Early Modern History, edited by Catherine Fletcher and Jennifer M. DeSilva. JEMH 14 (2010).
Articles and Essays
- ‘War, diplomacy and social mobility: the Casali family in the service of Henry VIII,’ Journal of Early Modern History 14 (2010), 559-78.
- ‘“Furnished with gentlemen”: the ambassador’s house in sixteenth-century Italy,’ Renaissance Studies 24 (2010), 518-35.
- ”Those who give are not all generous”: Tips and bribes at the sixteenth-century papal court,’ EUI Working Papers, Max Weber Programme 2011/15.
- ‘The city of Rome as a space for diplomacy,’ in Atti del convegno Early Modern Rome 1341-1667, ed. Portia Prebys (Ferrara: Edisai, 2012).
- ‘The altar of Saint Maurice and the invention of tradition in Saint Peter’s,’ in Old Saint Peter’s ed. Carol M. Richardson, John Osborne and Joanna Storey (British School at Rome monograph series, forthcoming 2012).
- ‘Performing Henry at the court of Rome,’ in Henry VIII and the Court: Art, Politics and Performance ed. Suzannah Lipscomb and Thomas Betteridge (Ashgate, forthcoming 2012).