Professor to discuss cultural implications of extreme platform shoes in Renaissance Venice

Saint Joseph’s College celebrates its 100th Anniversary with the second of its Centennial Lecture Series on Monday, Feb. 13.

Dr. Michelle Laughran of Standish, a history professor and Renaissance scholar at the college, will give a talk titled “On a Pedestal: Extreme Shoes and the Promise of Excellence in Renaissance Venice.” Laughran says platform heels up to 20” high worn by Venetian women were cultural instruments. “In these shoes, a woman could assert not only control over her financial resources and greater penetration of male-dominated urban space, but also her own individual excellence,” she states.

The talk begins at 7 p.m., and is part of the “Faculty After Hours Centennial Lecture Series” celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Saint Joseph’s College. The series is free and open to the public. All lectures are held at the Viola George Auditorium of Harold Alfond Hall at the Standish campus.

Dr. Laughran is co-author of an article on the power of Italian Renaissance shoes in the recent anthology Ornamentalism: The Art of Renaissance Accessories from the University of Michigan Press. The volume is the first book ever to focus on Renaissance accessories, their histories and their meanings through original essays by leading scholars on accessories’ significance in the cultural, social, and political lives of men and women during this famously vibrant period.

A 30-minute question-and-answer period follows the presentation, and light refreshments will be served. 893-7723.

January 30, 2012
Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail