Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


Touba Ghadessi

Touba Ghadessi

Associate Professor of Art History

Ph.D., M.A., Northwestern University
B.A., Trinity University

Main Interests

Monsters in the early modern period

History of anatomy

Gender definitions and gender ambiguity between 1400 and 1800

Ruling figures and vexed visualizations of power

Research Interests

I am currently working on a book manuscript titled Courting Monstrosity: The Spectacular Body in Early Modern Portraiture. This book focuses on the ways in which human monstrousness and physical deformity have been historically represented, categorized, and interpreted in the various Italian and French courts of the late Renaissance. At the center of this interdisciplinary study are the court monsters – dwarves, hirsutes, and misshapen individuals – who, by their very presence, altered Renaissance ethics vis-à-vis anatomical difference, social virtues, scientific knowledge, and the art theoretical discourse on portraiture.

Teaching Interests


ARTH 111 Arts of the Western Tradition

ARTH 242 Patronage and the Artist in Early Modern Italy
ARTH 243 Early Modern Spaces
ARTH 244 Baroque Art

ARTH 311 Anatomies 1400-1600: Sexual, Forbidden and Monstrous
ARTH 398 Ruling Families of the Renaissance
ARTH 401 The Art of Collecting

ARTH 401 The Boundaries of Portraiture


Other Interests

The New England Renaissance Conference (November 2011)

The Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities