Dr. Karen McCluskey
BA/BFA, MA, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Honours Co-ordinator, Discipline Head in History
Phone: 02 8204 4121
Karen was awarded a PhD from the Department of Art History and Theory at the University of Sydney in 2006. Thesis title: 'The Politics of Sanctity: Visualising Local Saints and Beati in Late-Mediaeval Venice'. Karen also holds a Master’s degree in Art History from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from McMaster University, both in Ontario, Canada.
Before teaching at UNDA, Karen lectured in the Department of Art History and Theory and in the Centre for Continuing Education both at the University of Sydney; she has tutored at UNSW, University of Sydney and Queen's University, Canada. Karen has taught courses on many aspects of Italian, Byzantine and European art, as well as on various themes in Western history and historiography.
Karen co-leads The University of Notre Dame’s Experience the World unit to Spain with Fremantle’s Professor Deborah Gare.
Themes in Ancient History
- Sanctity and devotion in mediaeval and early-modern Europe
- Saints' relics, sepulchres and art in mediaeval Italy
- Mediaeval pilgrimage
- Legends and myths
- Intersection of politics and religion in mediaeval and early-modern Europe
- Gender in history
Mediaeval and early modern history and art history, especially saints/devotion, gender, identity, biography, historiography, myths and legends
Topics in ancient history
- Re-Orienting the Renaissance in the Suleymanic Age, 1520-1595 [current]
- The Emblematic Representation of Joseph of Nazareth in Jeronimo Gracian's 'Summary of the Excellencies of St. Joseph' (1597)
- The Visual Representation of Political Philosophy on the Fourteenth-Century Doge's Palace in Venice [current]
- Victorian Medievalism and its relationship to Nationalism at the South Kensington Museum and British Museum, 1867-1914. [current]
- Visual analysis of the Hours of Anne le Routye, Rare Books, University of Sydney [current]
- Body-Part Reliquaries: Visualising the Sacred in the Later Middle Ages 
- An Exploration of Masculinity in Sir Thomas Malory's 'Le Morte D'Arthur' 
- Spain's Valley of the Fallen: Representation and Legacy 
- 'Next Year in Jerusalem': Visual expressions of Zionism in the Szyk Haggadah 
- Gender & Power in Early Palaiologan Byzantium: the Case of Anna of Savoy (c. 1306-1365) 
- A Defence against Calumny: Hortense Mancini's Salon Years (1675-1699) 
- Marcus Aurelius and the Myth of the Philosopher-King 
- Philip II of Macedon: a revision 
Research and engagement
McCluskey, K. (2013). Miraculous Visions: Apparitio in the Vitae of Mediaeval Venetian Saints and Beati’ IKON, Journal of Iconographic Studies, vol. 6, 167-181.
McCluskey, K. (2012) 'That Bloody Myth of Venice Again! Noble Blood and Sanctity in Venice', Blood (Sydney, Trunk Books).
'From local obscurity to civic heroes: the elevation of domestic saints and ‘beati’ in Venice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries' Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS), Victoria University, Wellington New Zealand
'Ajax and Anzacs: Greek classicism, Australia and the Great War' World History Association Conference Ghent, Belgium (in collaboration with Dr Christine de Matos, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney)
'Medieval Festival: a journey of interdisciplinary learning and teaching' Sydney 2015 Forum: Team-based learning and teaching The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney (in collaboration with Jane Bergeron and Michael Pigott [theatre studies] and Renee Kohler-Ryan [philosophy], University of Notre Dame Sydney)
El Greco’s Burial of Count Orgaz: a problem of interpretation, UNDA Art History Mini-Conference
'Bellum iustum: hagiography and Venetian imperialism in the later Middle Ages', WHA conference: Faith, Empire and Conflict, Fremantle, WA
'Local Sanctity in Late-Mediaeval Venice: convergences and divergences' Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, San Diego, USA
'Happiness for Dummies: Saints' Lives and the Possibility of Happiness in the Later Middle Ages', Happiness Symposium, Arts and Sciences, UNDA Sydney
'Miraculous Visions: Apparitio in the Vitae of Mediaeval Venetian Saints and Beati', 'Visions' 6th International Conference of Iconographic Studies, University of Rijeka, Croatia
'Official Sanctity alla veneziana: Pietro Orseolo, Gerardo da Venezia and Giacomo Salomani', Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, Venice, Italy