Kimberly Webb

Kimberly Webb

Department of History
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Most Highly Favoured Ladies: Italian & English Noblewomen and Saints in Times of Crisis
SupervisorsDr Simon Yarrow and Dr Katharine Sykes
PhD History


  • MA Medieval European History, Villanova University
  • BA History and Italian Studies (Cum Laude), Saint Louis University


From the time that I realised that I had become obsessed with the Renaissance Faire, I knew I was going to be a medievalist. In my second year of undergraduate study, I studied abroad in Rome for an academic year - learning its history, its art, its religion, and working at the Pontifico Istituto di Archelogia Cristiana as an intern. When I returned to the U.S., I earned my BA in History and Italian Studies from Saint Louis University before going on to get my MA in Premodern European History at Villanova University, where I also worked as a research assistant in medieval gender history, Renaissance fashion, and Egyptology. Currently, I teach ancient and medieval history at a charter school in Arizona.

In my spare time, I enjoy writing and reading fiction and trying to do crafty hobbies, such as crochet and embroidery.


My dissertation, “Noblewomen, Saints, and Social Change in Medieval Britain and Italy,” is an exploration of the ever-evolving relationship between British and Italian noblewomen in the tumultuous Middle Ages. It explores themes of religion, power, gender, emotion, apocalypticism, and the intersections thereof, with the objective of crafting a survey that explores the intricacies, emotions, anxieties, and sheer beauty of women’s responses to war, plague, and disaster, done through a series of focused case studies. The Middle Ages, particularly in its broad definition of 476 to 1500 AD, saw an immense amount of change in its landscape, political existence, its economy, and even its climate and the ramifications thereof. Religion, a timeless means of rationalising and coping with the world, became something so naturally turned to in times of change. Women, whose agency and inclusion in the public sphere has been underrated until relatively recently, were key in facilitating this change and turning to their parishes and shrines when in need of the comfort of the divine. Noblewomen, with a unique social position, were not excluded, and used their unique position and the agency that it brought in their varied and often artistically productive ways. In exploring these reactions, my dissertation explores not only medieval femininity and devotion, but also dynamics of class and power. In creating a comparison between Italy and Britain - two significant players in the Middle Ages, its events, and its religion - my study will show similarities in medieval culture while pushing back on the popular narrative of a monolithic medieval Europe.


Journal Publications

  • Webb, Kimberly. “Sisters According to Spirit: Clarissen Charity, Care, and Consorority in Italy, 1250-1500.” Comitatus: A Journal for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, vol. 52 (2021). pp. 1-15.
  • Webb, Kimberly. “Mothers, Children, and Servants: Gender, Social Power, and Domestic Service in Trecento and Quattrocento Tuscany.” CONCEPT: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Graduate Studies, vol. 43 (2020).
  • Webb, Kimberly. “Food, Community, and Identity on the Hill.” Gateway History Journal, vol. XVII (2019). pp. 48-55.

Journal Papers in Review

  • Webb, Kimberly. “‘The Devil Never Gives Delightful Pain Like This’: Suffering, Pain, and the Mystical Unions of Christian Women Mystics in the Middle Ages.” CONCEPT: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Graduate Studies, vol. 45.

Blog Posts

  • Webb, Kimberly. “Plague and Planning: How William Penn Planned a Disease-Free City.” Historically Speaking. February 13, 2021. 
  • Webb, Kimberly. “Reviewed: Love at Last Sight: Dating, Intimacy, and Risk in Turn-of-the-Century Berlin.” Historically Speaking. April 24, 2020. 
  • Webb, Kimberly. “Reviewed: The Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Zemon Davis.” Historically Speaking. February 28, 2020.