Kathryn Ffion Davies

PhD Student

Thesis: Incorporated monstrosity in the print culture of Antwerp, c.1566-c.1600

Supervisor: Professor Joanna Woodall   Advisor: Professor Katie Scott

My thesis examines imagined monstrous bodies in the print culture of Antwerp in the late sixteenth century. During this period, Antwerp was a hub of international trade, a prolific producer of artisanal and artistic goods, a frontrunner in printed book and image production and a centre of intellectual endeavour. Simultaneously, it was being threatened by political, social and religious upheaval due to Protestant iconoclasm and revolt against the incumbent sovereign, Philip II of Habsburg. My research explores the distinctive relationship between this unsettled, globalising city and the unstable boundary between human and animal bodies in visual culture. It considers a broad corpus of printed material on themes such as inhuman war, religious sin, and cannibalism, produced by printmakers in Antwerp such as Adriaen Collaert (1560-1618), Maarten de Vos (1532-1603), and Jan Wierix (1549-1620). Drawing on critical posthumanism, monsters will be considered as embodying shunned elements of the self that are incorporated within the body and emerge in periods of turmoil. It is only recently that posthuman methodologies have been utilised in early modern historical studies, and rarely have they been applied to art history. My research addresses this deficiency in the discipline and advocates for sustained inquiry into definitions of the (non-)human in historical contexts.


2021- : Doctorate of Philosophy in History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art

2020-2021: Master of Arts in History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art (Distinction)

2017-2020: Bachelor of Arts in History, Exeter College, University of Oxford (First Class)

Research Interests

  • Monstrosity, the posthuman, and the nonhuman
  • Animal studies
  • (Im-)Perfection and ideas of the human self
  • Print production and dissemination