Select Page

Claire Morrison MA

PhD candidate


Cohort/Start PhD: 2022-2023

Women in Academia? Gendering knowledge transfers in university cities in the early modern Low Countries (Leuven & Leiden, 1525-1675)

KU Leuven, History department, early modern history research group

Supervisor(s): Prof. Werner Thomas and Dr Lieke van Deinsen

​The FWO ‘Women in Academia?’ project aims to study the role of women as knowledge ‘agents’ in university cities to understand how gender shaped the transfer of knowledge in the early modern period. Comparing the ‘Catholic’ university of Leuven with the ‘Calvinist’ university of Leiden (1525-1675), the project inspects the impact of social, cultural and religious parameters on the agency of women in early modern academia. Thereby aiming to: 1) Identify the women in urban centres of knowledge; 2) Examine how women participated in the transfer of knowledge; And, 3) Analyse the impact of gender on the transfer of knowledge. This project stands at the interdisciplinary and methodological nexus of the history of knowledge, book history, and gender studies. After first uncovering female knowledge agents by reading the institutional records against the grain, to then examining how these women participated in the transfer of knowledge in academic households, printing firms, and through patronage, this project concludes by applying an intersectional approach to the agency of women in early modern university cities. Uncovering the history of women in early modern academia will lead to more inclusive conceptions of the past, and a more inclusive sense of belonging in the present.