Dr. Emily Colbert Cairns, associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages, will present "Breast is Best in Early Modern Spain" as part of the McKillop Library's faculty lecture series.
Maternal milk is the first food practice that serves to control the female body, enabling certain women but not others to nurse infants. In this presentation, Colbert Cairns will share her research from a sabbatical in the fall of 2019. While in Spain, she conducted primary research in hospital archives regarding the use of wet nurses and their orphan charges.
Establishing a primary residence in Seville allowed Colbert Cairns to visit and study firsthand some of the important artistic representations of the lactating virgin in the Museum of Bellas Artes, within the Cathedral of Seville and in the Archbishop’s Palace. These paintings comprise a key aspect of the research — they reflect the widespread and popular appeal this topic had for an early modern Iberian audience.