Associate Professor; JMA and Sonja Van der Horst Fellow in Jewish History and Culture
469 Hamilton Hall


BA Free University of Brussels, 1999
MA Brandeis University, 2000
PhD New York University, 2008

Research Interests

Flora Cassen’s book “Marking the Jews in Renaissance Italy: Politics, Religion, and the Power of Symbols,” (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press) is a study of discriminatory marks that the Jews were compelled to wear in 15- and 16-century Italy, which probes the roots and consequences of anti-Judaism. Her second project studies Italian Jews who were spies for the king of Spain. It examines how early modern intelligence networks functioned and probes questions of Jewish identity in a time of uprootedness and competing loyalties.

Some Notable Publications

  • “The Last Spanish Expulsion in Europe: Milan 1565-1597,” Association for Jewish Studies Review, 38:1 (May, 2014), 59-88.
  • “From Iconic O to Yellow Hat: The Shifting Symbolic Meaning of Jewish Distinctive Signs in Renaissance Italy,” Fashioning Jews, Clothing, Culture, Commerce, ed. Leonard Greenspoon, Studies in Jewish Civilization Series, vol. 24, Purdue University Press (2013), 29-49.
  • “Philip II of Spain and His Italian Jewish Spy,” Journal of Early Modern History (December 2017)
  • “Podcast on a Jewish Spy in the Spanish Empire"

Graduate Students

Courses Offered

  • HIST308: The Renaissance and the Jews
  • HIST330: Jesus and the Jews: From the Bible to the Big Screen