Portrait of Dr Suzanna Ivanic

Dr Suzanna Ivanic

Lecturer in Early Modern European History
Library Coordinator (Spring 2020)


Suzanna Ivanic joined Kent in September 2017 as Lecturer in Early Modern European History. She gained her BA from the University of Cambridge in 2007 and went on to work for international classical musicians in artist management. After four years, she returned to postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge, completing her PhD in 2015. During this time, she co-founded the Cambridge New Habsburg Studies Network and became a Seminar Fellow at the Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota. She went on to win a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Royal Holloway, University of London, and to take up a lecturing post at the University of Cambridge prior to joining Kent.

Research interests

Focusing on Central Europe, Suzanna’s broad research interests span religion, material and visual culture, and travel. Recent and forthcoming publications include chapters on amulets, religious objects, and religion in the domestic sphere, and articles on a pilgrimage travelogue. She is currently completing a monograph for OUP, The Materiality of Belief: The Spiritual World of Early Modern Prague. 


Suzanna teaches modules on early modern Europe, with a particular focus on cultural and social history.


A devoted member of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Suzanna is happy to talk with MA and PhD candidates considering topics relating to early modern European history, especially those interested in taking cultural and social perspectives and using material and visual approaches.



  • Ivanic, S. (2015). Traversing the local and universal in the Catholic Renewal: Bed?ich z Donín’s pilgrimage to holy sites (1607-8). Cultural and Social History [Online] 12:161-177. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/147800415X14224554625118.
    Increasing numbers of educated Catholic travellers visited holy sites in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Though we are beginning to uncover more about these holy sites in the context of ‘local’ religion, we know very little about how educated travellers encountered them. These sacred places were also places of mobility and exchange. This article explores the responses of an educated traveller from Bohemia on a pilgrimage to Loreto and his encounters with holy sites and religious materials along the way and what this reveals about Catholicism in between the local and universal.
  • Ivanic, S. (2015). The construction of identity through visual intertextuality in a Bohemian early modern travelogue. Visual Communication [Online] 14:49-72. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1470357214554544.
    Cultural historians have long been concerned with visual sources. Their research has centred on ways of reading images and how they can most accurately be interpreted. This article focuses on an alternative aspect of these visual sources: on how images were made and used. It analyses how the identity of a Bohemian Catholic, Bed?ich z Donín, is constructed by his use of images in a travelogue based on his pilgrimage in the early 17th century. Highlighting the process of ‘visual intertextuality’, it claims that the ways in which Donín adopts and adapts visual images reveals his association with various affinity groups. The distinction between ‘actual’ and ‘habitual’ intertextuality is applied to the analysis of this historical source and shows how competing voices are present in the images. This article is an example of how historians can use the methodologies of semioticians to benefit their research.

Book section

  • Ivanic, S. (2018). Amulets and the Material Interface of Beliefs in Seventeenth-Century Prague Burgher Homes. In: Faini, M. and Meneghin, A. eds. Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004375888_012.
  • Ivanic, S. (2016). Early modern religious objects and materialities of belief. In: Richardson, C., Hamling, T. and Gaimster, D. eds. The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe. Routledge. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315613161.
    In 1590 the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II commissioned a small stone cameo from the Milanese gem-cutter Alessandro Masnago (Figure 19.1).1 Measuring only 3.3 cm by 4 cm, it was set in a gold frame with coloured enamelling by Jan Vermeyern in Vienna in about 1602. From the testimony of subsequent inventories it appears to have ended up in Rudolf’s famous Kunstkammer in Prague.2 Documentary evidence can reveal little more, so we must turn to the cameo. As all agate, it would have started life as a grey lump of stone and, when cracked open, exposed the colourful chalcedony of its interior. Through trading, it eventually ended up on the worktable of Masnago, where the inner parts of the oval were worked down to the ochre layer and the white vein was picked out into tiny faces and clouds. Eventually the religious image emerged from the stone. Mary and Jesus stare out brightly, encircled by an inner band of clouds. The uppermost pink-red surface was kept around the edge as a frame and crafted into billowing clouds containing angels’ faces flanked by wings. The miniature image is not clearly defined but works intricately with the natural flow of colours in the stone. Its size and complexity make the viewer strain and engage to look into the stone to see the vision.
  • Ivanic, S. (2015). Ten object case study contributions. In: Avery, V., Calaresu, M. and Laven, M. eds. Treasured Possessions From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Philip Wilson Publishers. Available at: http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/gallery/treasuredpossessions/book.html.

Edited book

  • Ivanic, S., Laven, M. and Morrall, A. eds. (2019). Religious Materiality in the Early Modern World. [Online]. Amsterdam University Press. Available at: https://www.aup.nl/en/book/9789462984653/religious-materiality-in-the-early-modern-world.
    This collection of essays offers a comparative perspective on religious materiality across the early modern world. Setting out from the premise that artefacts can provide material evidence of the nature of early modern religious practices and beliefs, the volume tests and challenges conventional narratives of change based on textual sources. Religious Materiality in the Early Modern World brings together scholars of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist practices from a range of fields, including history, art history, museum curatorship and social anthropology. The result is an unprecedented account of the wealth and diversity of devotional objects and environments, with a strong emphasis on cultural encounters, connections and exchanges.
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