Lavinia Gambini

PhD Candidate in Early Modern History
Lavinia Gambini

Lavinia is a third-year PhD student at Jesus College, working on a project titled Eastern Mediterranean Practitioners and Artisans in Early Modern Italy, ca. 1550-1669. Her interests lie in the global history of science and medicine, material culture, and the history of the early modern Mediterranean. 

Lavinia obtained a BA in History and Philosophy from Humboldt-University in Berlin (2020), where she was a research assistant to the Chair of Early Modern European History (2017-2020). In 2019, she interned at the German Historical Institute in Rome. Her BA dissertation on eschatology in the early Enlightenment won the Droysen-Prize and the Vice-Chancellor's Humboldt-Prize (2021).
She first joined Cambridge in 2020 to pursue an MPhil in Early Modern History (2021). 

In September-November 2022, Lavinia joined the Medici Archive Project (Florence) as an Eva-Schler-Fellow. 
In June-September 2023, she joined the German Centre for Venetian Studies (Venice) as a predoctoral scholar in residence ( 
Her postgraduate studies have been generously supported by the Cambridge International Trust, the Gurnee Hart Fund (MPhil), Jesus College, and the Faculty of History.

In 2021-2023, Lavinia acted as the co-convenor and co-founder of the 'Oceanic and Maritime History Workshop' (, Twitter/X: @CamOceanicHist).

In 2023-2024, she convenes the 'Workshop for the Early Modern Period' (WEMP) (, Twitter/X: @EMGSCam, Bluesky:

Lavinia is currently co-organising the ECR conference 'Global Recipes in the Early Modern World: Ingredients, Actors, Exotica', Cambridge, May 2024 (Twitter/X: @GlobalRecipes24, Bluesky: 
The conference has received the generous support of the Society for the Social History of Medicine (SSHM), the British Society for the History of Science (BSHS), the Society for Renaissance Studies (SRS), and the Trevelyan Fund (Faculty of History). 

Lavinia's project explores the appreciation of contemporary Eastern Mediterranean medical expertise, sartorial crafts, and scientific knowledge across early modern Italy. By focusing on places of encounter and coexistence with Eastern Mediterranean communities, she wants to uncover how non-elite early modern Italians sought non-Western-European objects as well as healers, artisans, and other experts in their everyday lives. 

In 2023-2024, Lavinia supervises for Paper 11 'Early Medicine'.

Key publications

Book Review, Natural Things in Early Modern Worlds, edited by Mackenzie Cooley, Anna Toledano, and Duygu Yıldırım, in: Journal of Early Modern History 27/6 (2023), 559–561.

Blog Post, Migrating Materia Medica and Foreign Street Vendors in early modern Italy, in: Migrating Materia Medica Blog (Kent Material Studies Network) (December 2023).