Alexander Harper Link-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows
Ph.D., University of Toronto, 2014
Alexander Harper specializes in Western medieval art and architecture, with a particular focus on architecture and urbanism in late medieval southern Italy. His current book project, tentatively titled Angevin New Towns: Studies in Medieval Colonialism, examines a group of new town projects initiated by the kings of Naples from the second half of the 13th century through the first half of the 14th century. Overall, the work examines the architectural and urban projects for these spaces but investigates also the central role cities played in the political, economic, and cultural consolidation of late medieval southern Italy. Methodologically, it integrates medieval art, architectural, and urban histories, and examines the relationships between places, buildings, materials, art, commerce, and the artists, masons, and administrators involved in Angevin city building.
Harper’s work has been supported by the Fulbright Commission, the Medieval Academy of America, and Bryn Mawr College, where he taught in the Italian Studies and History of Art departments prior to arriving at Princeton. In addition to his current book project, additional research projects include a social and art history of mason’s workshops in 13th- and 14th-century Apulia and an examination of medieval “restorations” in 19th- and early-20th-century southern Italy that includes the renovation of medieval buildings, objects, and rituals during this period.
Harper’s teaching interests reflect these research questions. His course offerings include classes on medieval architecture, Italian nationalism, medieval reception, and the medieval Mediterranean.