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Introducing: Sanne Muurling

Sanne Muurling is the new PhD student in Manon van der Heijden's 'Crime and Gender' project.

Before starting my PhD here at Leiden University, I have studied Social and Economic History at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.  I was never really one for the historical political events, and immediately felt right at home studying the history of ordinary people and how they lived their lives through quirky and sometimes initially scary sources like probate inventories or census data. After having finished my research master thesis on the discrepancy between domesticity as a myth and material reality in eighteenth century Amsterdam, I pursued another master degree at Leiden University in Book and Digital Media Studies, specializing in digital access to cultural heritage. During this time I also did two internships, one at the Sailing Letters project at the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) and another at the publishing company Brill, where I helped develop a digitization project concerning these very same sources. 

Historical Sample of the Netherlands

After finishing my master, I was lucky enough to start working as a junior researcher for the Historical Sample of the Netherlands (HSN) at the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam. The HSN has created a very large database in which the lives of approximately 70.000 individuals are being followed through population registers, shedding light on many aspects of their life courses. I did various things there, among which was making an inventory of surviving censuses and population registers from before 1850 and the actual digitization of several 1811 censuses from Zeeland and Brabant. Working in such close proximity to and preparing data for researchers confirmed and strengthened my wish to pursue a PhD in a subject that would suit both my love for qualitative and quantitative research of historical everyday life. The Crime and Gender project, which focusses on gendered patterns of criminal behavior and the persecution thereof (which is also gendered) throughout the early modern period is right up my alley, taking into account moral and legal norms, living standards, urbanization and family structures. From stealing food in times of economic distress to violence against property and homicide: through the study of the court records in Bologna I hope to shed some much needed light on this everyday life behavior that is crime.

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