Mackenzie Cooley


Mackenzie Cooley is a doctoral student in the history department at Stanford University.

With concentrations in early modern European, women’s, and environmental history, she geographically focuses on Spain, Italy, and the Spanish-American colonies. In 2012 she graduated from Cornell University magna cum laude with majors in history and comparative literature. Within both departments, Mackenzie’s work grappled with issues of personhood and the effects of femininity and masculinity. Her honors thesis in history, “The Plight of Edmund Harrold: Reputation and Masculinity in the Diary of a Manchester Wigmaker 1712-1715” offered a microhistorical examination of early modern manhood. Within comparative literature, Mackenzie’s work focused on the films of acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. While investigating his portrayal of men and women’s worlds through a Freudian lens, she produced an essay entitled “Cosa de Mujeres: An Uncanny Reading of Almodóvar’s Hable con ella, Volver, and La piel que habito” which was published in the UCB Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal in the summer of 2012. As an undergraduate, Mackenzie received the Anne Macintyre Litchfield Prize for Excellence in History, acted in a variety of theatre productions, and was vice president and lead alto of Jazz Voices, a student-run vocal group.

As a doctoral student, Mackenzie is pursuing research in several areas including definitions of personhood, the social and environmental influence of animals in a pre-modern world, and early modern women and femininity. She plans to write a dissertation on the impact of horses and ideas of horse-training on both cultural and environmental levels. Following a trajectory that begins in Renaissance Naples and moves through Spain into the New World, she will explore how ideas of animal training reflect understandings of nature, the human, and the bestial. Additionally, Mackenzie is eager to find ways to tell histories through a variety of media – from traditional essays to blogs to theatre to film – and is keen on participating in public scholarship within the digital age. Enthusiastic to learn more about mapping technologies and GIS, Mackenzie has worked as a videographer for the Mapping the Republic of Letters Project at Stanford’s CESTA (Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis) and is pursuing her own project, mapping native American women and animals in the early Spanish colonies through the Relaciones Geográficas del siglo XVI. Mackenzie is very happy to take part in the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality studies doctoral minor program here at Stanford and is ecstatic to have found such a marvelous, interdisciplinary community of like-minded scholars.