I am an early modern historian who specialises in the court of Charles I, queenship, gender, and diplomacy. I joined the Open University as a Staff Tutor and Lecturer in History in 2019. Prior to this, I was a Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University and Director of Employability for the School of Humanities. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and in November 2016, I was nationally recognised by the Times Higher Education awards as the Most Innovative Teacher of the Year. I have contributed teaching examples to the National Archives guidance on collaboration with the HE Sector and have been interviewed by the Times Higher Education on ‘What does good university teaching look like?’ I have recently submitted a podcast to The Campus, Times Higher Education, on How to design an online course centred around interactive learning.
My research interests chiefly concern the female court and household of Queen Henrietta Maria and my first monograph on Caroline Court Women, 1625-69 is under contract with Manchester University Press. I am interested in how mixed marriages shaped the cultural, socio-political, and religious practices of aristocratic court women, as well as how a transnational methodology broadens understanding of Stuart historiography. I have co-edited collections of essays on Stuart Marriage Diplomacy: Dynastic Politics in their European Context, 1604-1630 (Boydell and Brewer, 2018) and The Wedding Celebrations of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625: Celebrations and Controversy (Brepols, 2020). I have recently co-edited a Special Issue of the Women's History Review journal on premodern queenship and diplomacy.
I am presently working on diplomatic relations between the Dutch Republic, the House of Nassau and the Stuart crown centred upon Henrietta Maria's journey to the Low Countries in 1642-43 and questions of collective and personal representations of sovereignty. My research considers the complex dynastic, domestic and continental issues within which the queen was forced to operate. I am also interested in exile, diplomacy and female mobility more broadly, with a particular interest in the residencies of Marie de Médicis and the duchesse de Chrevreuse at the Stuart court in the late 1630s.
I would be happy to discuss supervising postgraduate research in any of these areas.
My teaching interests span the early modern period from a European and British perspective. I am particularly interested in the study of gender, court culture, diplomacy and interdynastic policy. I have taught modules that explore social changes across the period on account of the Renaissance and Reformation. Modules that I have convened include a first year survey course on 'Renaissance Europe' and more specialised courses on 'the Tudors', 'Splendour and Magnificence: The Courts of Europe', and - a source based course - 'Sex, Deviance and Death in Early Modern Britain'. Information about my innovative teaching practices and interview with Chris Parr, The Times Higher Education's Digital and Communication Editor can be found on History UK's website.
I am passionate about holistic skills development within Higher Education that provides Arts and Humanities graduates with a strong foundation to pursue their future career aims. I led on the development of an employability module, Applied Humanities in the Workplace, during my time at Canterbury Christ Church University. I now sit on the module team for A223 (Early Modern Europe, Society and Culture: 1500-1780).
Introduction: premodern queenship and diplomacy (2021)
Wilkinson, Louise J. and Wolfson, Sara J.
Women's History Review, 30(5) (pp. 713-722)
Review of Erin Griffey, on display Henrietta Maria and the materials of magnificence at the Stuart Court (Yale: Yale University Press, 2016) in The Art Newspaper, Vol. XXVI, No. 285 (December, 2016) (2016)
The Art Newspaper, 26(285)
Review of "On display: Henrietta Maria and the materials of magnificence at the Stuart Court" by Erin Griffey, and "Queenship and revolution in early modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette", by Carolyn Harris (2016)
Royal Stuart Journal, 7
Kevin Sharpe, Reading Authority and Representing Rule in Early Modern England (Bloomsbury: London, 2013) in Reviews in History (2014) (2014)
Reviews in History, Article 1643
'Practical proselytising: the impact of counter-Reformation Catholicism at the Caroline court, 1625-1626' (2020)
In: Caldari, Valentina and Wolfson, Sara eds. Stuart Marriage Diplomacy. Dynastic Politics in their European Context, 1604-1630. Studies in Early Modern Cultural, Political and Social History
Publisher : Boydell and Brewer
The Welcoming Journey of Queen Henrietta Maria and Stuart–Bourbon Relations, 1625–1626 (2020)
In: Conava-Green, Marie-Claude and Wolfson, Sara eds. The Wedding of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625: Celebrations and Controversy. European Festival Series: 1450-1700 (pp. 179-204)
ISBN : 978-2-503-58532-1 | Publisher : Brepols Publishers | Published : Turnhout, Belgium
Caldari, V.; Questier, M. and Wolfson, S.
In: Caldari, Valentina and Wolfson, Sara eds. Stuart Marriage Diplomacy. Dynastic Politics in their European Context, 1604-1630
ISBN : 978-1783271436 | Publisher : Boydell and Brewer
The female bedchamber of Queen Henrietta Maria; politics, familial networks and policy, 1626-1641 (2013-10-24)
In: Akkerman, Nadine and Houben, Birgit eds. The Politics of Female Households: Ladies-in-Waiting across Early Modern Europe. Rulers and Elites (pp. 311-341)
ISBN : 978-90-04-25839-6 | Publisher : Brill | Published : Leiden
The wedding of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625. Celebrations and controversy (2020)
Canova-Green, Marie-Claude and Wolfson, Sara eds.
European Festival Studies: 1450-1700 (EFS)
ISBN : 978-2-503-58532-1 | Publisher : Brepols Publishers
Stuart Marriage Diplomacy. Dynastic Politics in their European Context, 1604-1630 (2018)
Caldari, Valentina and Wolfson, Sara J. eds.
Studies in Early Modern Cultural, Political and Social History
ISBN : 9781783271436 | Publisher : Boydell and Brewer | Published : Woodbridge