Universiteit Leiden

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Paul van Trigt

University Lecturer

Dr. P.W. van Trigt
+31 71 527 1349

Paul van Trigt is university lecturer social history. His research and teaching are concerned with histories of in- and exclusion of people in multiple contexts in the modern period and the role of concepts such as human rights, the welfare state, religion, disability, ethnicity in these histories.

More information about Paul van Trigt

Fields of interest

  • Social history
  • Disability history
  • Global history
  • Human rights
  • Health
  • Religion
  • Welfare states


Paul van Trigt is currently following three lines of research:

• From legal objects to subjects. Human rights and disability internationalism since the 1960s: Van Trigt has investigated from a global history perspective how and why disability became an issue of human rights and of international law. Based on research in multiple archives, he is writing a genealogy of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) that aims to deliver an innovative contribution to current human rights historiography and contests the ‘first in Europe, then elsewhere’ structure that dominates the current accounts on the history of the convention. 

• Public histories of marginalized perspectives on health: Van Trigt has worked from different angles on disability and health in collaboration with societal partners and researchers with as main product the first ever public history website in the Netherlands focusing on the experiences of people with disabilities, DisPLACE (2019-). The common thread in these collaborations is his interest in citizen’s perspectives on health and well-being that differ from the way in which health has been approached by medical experts and the state. Recently, he has started a collaboration with the online platform Things That Talk to create an infrastructure to collect, contextualise, and make accessible alternative perspectives on health of Leiden citizens.

• Interdependent Living. Histories of community care from a global and intersectional perspective: Van Trigt intends to investigate how people in different contexts have reordered care by using (their) communities: varying from disabled people who have started “independent living” initiatives to civil servants who have tried to promote health and prevent disease through working together with ethnic communities, from the World Health Organization which has used indigenous technologies for their Community-Based Rehabilitation Manual to religious communities in which people have explored new relationships with their social and natural environment.

Curriculum vitae

Paul van Trigt’s PhD-thesis was published in the form of a book, Blind in een gidsland. Over de bejegening van mensen met een visuele beperking in de Nederlandse verzorgingsmaatschappij, 1920-1990 (Hilversum: Verloren, 2013), and offers an analysis of the Dutch welfare state from a disability studies perspective. As postdoctoral researcher in the ERC-project ‘Rethinking Disability’ Van Trigt expanded the comparative and transnational dimension of disability policies as explored in his PhD-thesis to a global one in line with the project’s principal aim to ‘globalize’ and ‘mainstream’ disability.

University Lecturer

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • Economische en Sociale geschiedenis

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 2.05a




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