Funded PhD studentship at UCL & Wellcome Collections: Commonplacing Health and the Body in Early Modern England. Deadline 27th January 2023

Commonplacing Health and the Body in Early Modern England
This Collaborative Doctoral Award is a fully funded 3.5 year PhD studentship offered by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership to be held at UCL History and Wellcome Collection.

Project Description
Matters of health and the body were everyday preoccupations for early modern people, and many collected health information into personalised handwritten notebooks. Hundreds of these notebooks survive in the archives offering valuable opportunities to explore quotidian ideas about sickness and health. Centred on the rich corpus of handwritten medical notebooks in the Wellcome Collection, this project investigates how early modern men and women engaged with health information across communication media and created customised compendia of medical knowledge to suit their needs. It aims to recover diverse and individual perspectives of health and the body in early modern England and gain insight on the impact of past library cataloguing practices in constructing gender and epistemic boundaries. The student will conduct a scoping survey of such texts in the collection and select a handful of rich examples on which to undertake more in-depth research. Experience will be gained in working in an archive, library and museum setting including object handling, cataloguing practices and public engagement. The student’s research will contribute to revising the existing catalogue entries and will reveal the relevance of past practices of documenting health to our present and future. Some of the medical notebooks contain passages written in Latin, Italian, French or German. As such, the student should either have working knowledge of one of these languages or be open to gaining further skills in this area. Funded language and palaeography training will be provided.

Supervisory team includes Angus Gowland and Elaine Leong at UCL History and Elma Brenner and Julia Nurse at Wellcome Collection.

Interested applicants need to apply to both UCL History and the London Arts and Humanities Partnership by 5 pm January 27th 2023. For more information on the application process, please see


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