Universiteit Leiden

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Claire Weeda

University Lecturer

Dr. C.V. Weeda
+31 71 527 2718

Claire Weeda is a University Lecturer at the institute for History.

More information about Claire Weeda


Claire Weeda is a cultural historian whose main fields of interest include ethnic stereotyping, the history of the body, medicine, nature, and social and religious ethics in later medieval Europe.

My dissertation, Images of Ethnicity in Later Medieval Europe (recently awarded the Keetje Hodshon award 2015, KHMW), examined the fundamental shift in thinking about ethnic character from the twelfth century in Northern Europe. In the burgeoning educational and courtly centres, where standards of 'civilized'​ behaviour were being set, ideas about ethnicity were increasingly ensconced in the medical humoral theory. From an introspective religious-ethical tool to ruminate the sins of mankind in light of eschatological expectations, notions about ethnicity were thus gradually embodied within a religious-medical discourse factoring in environmental influences.

My current research focuses the development and spread of medical knowledge in urban centres in the later Middle Ages. In particular I am looking at health regimes centred around the impact of the 'non-naturals' (environment, diet, sleep), the perceived impact a person’s environment had on the senses and his wellbeing, and the development of so-called civilizing norms.

Teaching activities

Teaching experience includes introductory courses on medieval history and analysis of source materials, as well thematic courses, including:

'Imagining the Medieval Nation', on ethnic identity, racism, and concepts of nature and culture in the Late Middle Ages

'The Latin Middle Ages', on medieval Latin literature and its cultural context, translating primary sources;

'Ethnic Stereotyping in the Middle Ages', on the function of ethnic stereotypes in later Medieval Europe;

'Nudity', on the meaning of nudity in social and religious context from antiquity to modernity;

'Ideals and Utopias', reading primary sources on ideal behaviour and communities from antiquity to the Renaissance;

'Laughter in the Dark', a cultural study of humour in the late Middle Ages;

'Spies and Diplomats in the Mediterranean World', on gift exchange, marriage diplomacy and ceremonies in Byzantium;

'Debating the Persecuting Society', discussing whether Europe became a persecuting society in the late middle ages;

'New Horizons', a course on explorers and missionary activities in the Baltic region and the East.

'Urban Bodies', on medical concepts and practices in urban communities 

University Lecturer

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Institute for History
  • Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 1.77b



  • Fonds voor de letteren Adviseur literaire non-fictie

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