Dr Lisa Smith

Faculty Dean Postgraduate (Humanities) - Senior Lecturer (R)
School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies
Dr Lisa Smith



It''s as simple as this: I like stories. People and their stories are endlessly interesting. In fact, I very nearly went into literature instead of history, but what made me realise that I should be a historian is that I like piecing together stories from fragments of information. I studied history at the University of Alberta and the University of Essex. From 2002 to 2015, I was a member of the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan. In September 2015, I returned to the University of Essex. My long-standing interests are on gender, health, the household, and the body--particularly, pain, illness experience, reproduction/infertility and domestic medicine. In addition to a BA-funded project on European Cuisine and British Identity in an Age of Nationalism (with Rachel Rich at Leeds Beckett and Adam Crymble at UCL), I am developing an online database of Sir Hans Sloane's correspondence (c. 1685-1750) and am a co-investigator on a crowd-sourcing recipes transcription project (Early Modern Recipes Online Collective). In addition, I am a founding editor for The Recipes Project blog and have written about my research at The Sloane Letters Blog, The Conversation, Notches, and Wonders & Marvels. I tweet as @historybeagle. Dissertation and Research Project Supervision I am happy to supervise projects on any of the topics listed above, as well as other topics such as: gender, bodies, pain, family histories, households. social networks, supernatural beliefs, science or medicine (ca. 1500-1850).


  • Ph.D., University of Essex (2002)

  • M.A., University of Alberta (1997)

  • B.A. Hons. in Honours History, University of Alberta (1995)


University of Essex

  • Postgraduate Research Director, History, University of Essex (1/10/2018 - 31/7/2020)

Other academic

  • Member, Editorial Board, European Journal of Food, Drink and Society (1/7/2019 - present)

  • Member, Editorial Board (English), (1/1/2014 - present)

  • Secretary, Editorial Board of Social History of Medicine, Society for the Social History of Medicine (1/6/2012 - 31/5/2019)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Britain and France, ca 1600-1800

Key words: comparative history
Open to supervise

Digital History

Key words: digital public engagement
Open to supervise

Medicine and Science

Key words: museums
Open to supervise


Key words: ghosts
Open to supervise


Key words: pain
Open to supervise

Gender History

Key words: women's history
Open to supervise


Key words: recipes
Open to supervise

Conferences and presentations

Beautiful Fertility in Eighteenth-Century England and France

Invited presentation, British History in the Long Eighteenth-Century Seminar, London, United Kingdom, 16/10/2019

Of Meat and Men: Bodies in the Royal Household

IEHCA History of Food Conference, Tours, France, 5/6/2019

Teaching with the Sloane Letters Project

American Association for the History of Medicine, Columbus, United States, 27/4/2019

Transcribing Recipes

Invited presentation, Living Knowledge Network Workshop on Crowdsourcing, London, United Kingdom, 7/3/2019

Beautiful Fertility in the Enlightenment

Invited presentation, Pretty Ugly: Early Modern Beauty 1400-1800, London, United Kingdom, 11/1/2019

Early Modern First Aid?

Invited presentation, The History of Emergency Medicine Workshop, Huddersfield, United Kingdom, 27/6/2018

Findable Early Modern Patients... and Ethics?

Invited presentation, Lives of Letters: Ethical and Interpretive Issues, Manchester, United Kingdom, 16/2/2018

A Recipe for a Virtual Conference

Invited presentation, Learning Spaces: Education Conference, Colchester, United Kingdom, 11/1/2018

'The Multiple Meanings of an Eighteenth-Century Caesarean Section'

British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, Oxford, United Kingdom, 4/1/2018

The Multiple Meanings of an Eighteenth-Century Caesarean Section

British Eighteenth Century Studies Conference, Oxford, United Kingdom, 4/1/2018

Chance encounters with the past: crowdsourcing early modern recipes

Invited presentation, Digital History Seminar, London, United Kingdom, 12/12/2017

'Recipe Books and Family Histories'

Keynote presentation, Essex History Group, Essex Records Office, 15/11/2017

'Seventeenth-Century Saturday Kitchen, or Hanna Woolley's Recipes for Queen-Like Living Every Day'

Keynote presentation, The Plume Lecture, Maldon, United Kingdom, 11/11/2017

'Sir Hans Sloane's Supernatural Correspondence'

Keynote presentation, Community Science Programme, London, United Kingdom, 26/10/2017

'Easing Childbirth Pain in Early Modern France'

Invited presentation, Knowledge in Context: Colloquium in Honour of Laurence Brockliss and Colin Jones, Oxford, United Kingdom, 23/9/2017

'What is a Recipe? The Editors' Final Panel Livestreamed'

What is a Recipe? A Virtual Conversation, The Wellcome Library, 10/7/2017

'Historical Pang-Relievers and Birth Quickeners: A Twitter Panel'

What is a Recipe? A Virtual Conversation, @historybeagle, 22/6/2017

'Introducing Margaret Baker, a Twitter essay'

What is a Recipe? A Virtual Conversation, @historybeagle, 15/6/2017

'Imagining Inexpressible Suffering in the Eighteenth Century'

Invited presentation, Early Modern Group Seminar, Durham, United Kingdom, 7/6/2017

'Gender and the Circulation of Hans Sloane's Books'

Invited presentation, The Material Culture of Citizen Science Workshop,, Oxford, United Kingdom, 12/5/2017

'Imagining the Hidden: Inexpressible Suffering in the Eighteenth Century'

Keynote presentation, Gender and Pain in Modern History Conference,, London, United Kingdom, 25/3/2017

'Digital Methods'

Invited presentation, Source of Knowledge: Teaching with Archival Collections, The Gerald Aylmer Workshop,, London, United Kingdom, 25/2/2017

'Collaborating with Students on the Digital Recipe Books Project'

Invited presentation, From Strongroom to Classroom: Archives and Teaching in Higher Education, The Gerald Aylmer Seminar, London, United Kingdom, 24/2/2017

'Finding Hans Sloane'

Invited presentation, Celebration of Science: Science, Fiction, and Storytelling, London, United Kingdom, 22/10/2016

Roundtable on 'The Place of the Digital History of Medicine', (organiser and participant)

Society for the Social History of Medicine Conference, Canterbury, United Kingdom, 9/7/2016

'Hans Sloane's Human Fossils'

', Corpses, Cadavers and Catalogues: The Mobilities of Dead Bodies and Body Parts, Past and Present,, London, United Kingdom, 17/5/2016

'Recipes to improve your love life: advice from the eighteenth century'

Keynote presentation, In Sickness and in Health: Recipes for Relationships, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 31/3/2016

'Finding Hans Sloane'

Social History Society Conference, Lancaster, United Kingdom, 22/3/2016

'Close-reading and Crowd-sourcing'

Invited presentation, Citizen Science in Historical Perspective, Berlin, Germany, 19/2/2016

'Fragments from an Eighteenth-century Family Scandal'

Invited presentation, History of Medicine Group, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 17/2/2016

Going Digital in the Medical Humanities

Invited presentation, Research in Medical Humanities Symposium, Belfast, United Kingdom, 2/12/2015

'Considering an Account of an Eighteenth-Century Caesarean Section'

Invited presentation, The Medical World of Early Modern Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, 3/9/2015

Considering an Account of an Eighteenth-Century Caesarean Operation

Invited presentation, The Medical World of Early Modern Ireland, 1500-1750, Dublin, Ireland, 3/9/2015

'Hans Sloane and the Huguenots: Crossing Borders in the Republic of Letters'

Social Networks Conference 1450-1850, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 16/7/2015

'Reconstructing Dr. Sloane: Gender, Expertise and Identity for an Eighteenth-Century Physician'

Invited presentation, History of Medicine Unit, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 4/6/2015

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture (CS101)

  • Ways of Knowing (CS112)

  • Navigating the Digital World (CS220)

  • Exploring History: Research Workshop (HR242)

  • Archives and Power (HR949)

Previous supervision

Stephen Dickens
Stephen Dickens
Thesis title: Old Age, Poverty and Gender in Rural England: A Case Study of Suffolk 1750-1834
Degree subject: History
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 29/11/2023
Tallulah Maait Pepperell
Tallulah Maait Pepperell
Thesis title: A Monastery of Their Own: Imagining a Utopia From the Aethnic Union to Urania
Degree subject: History
Degree type: Master of Arts (by Dissertation)
Awarded date: 16/3/2023


Journal articles (13)

Smith, L. and McClive, C., (2024). Women at the Centre: Medical Entrepreneurialism and 'La Grande Medicine' in Eighteenth-Century Lyon. French History. 38 (1), 11-27

Crymble, A., Fox, S., Rich, R. and Smith, L., (2023). Three Thousand Dishes on a Georgian Table: The Data of Royal Eating in England, 1788-1813. Food and History. 21 (2), 161-189

Munroe, J., Nunn, H., Simon, M. and Smith, L., (2022). Reconstructing Recipes, Recovering Losses, Telling Stories. Early Modern Studies Journal. 8

Smith, L., Dugan, H. and Nicosia, M., (2021). Smelling Contagion: The Sensory Experience of Plague in Seventeenth-Century London and the Covid-19 Pandemic. Working Papers in Critical Disaster Studies. Series 1: Historical Approaches to Covid-19 (8)

Smith, LW., (2020). Resisting Silences: Gender and Family Trauma in the Eighteenth Century. Gender and History. 32 (1), 30-53

Smith, LW., (2019). Remembering Dr. Sloane: Masculinity and the Making of an Eighteenth-Century Physician. Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies. 42 (4), 433-453

Laroche, R., Leong, E., Munroe, J., Nunn, H., Smith, L. and Tigner, A., (2018). Becoming Visible: Recipes in the Making. Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 13 (1), 133-143

Smith, LW., (2013). 'Bespelled in the Archives'.. The Appendix: A New Journal of Narrative and Experimental History. 1 (2)

Smith, LW., (2011). The Body Embarrassed? Rethinking the Leaky Male Body in Eighteenth-Century England and France. Gender & History. 23 (1), 26-46

Smith, LW., (2010). Imagining Women’s Fertility before Technology. Journal of Medical Humanities. 31 (1), 69-79

Smith, LW., (2008). “An Account of an Unaccountable Distemper”: The Experience of Pain in Early Eighteenth-Century England and France. Eighteenth-Century Studies. 41 (4), 459-480

Smith, L., (2006). The Relative Duties of a Man: Domestic Medicine in England and France, ca. 1685–1740. Journal of Family History. 31 (3), 237-256

Smith, LW., (2003). Society for the Social History of Medicine Student Millennium Prize Essay: Reassessing the Role of the Family: Women's Medical Care in Eighteenth-century England. Social History of Medicine. 16 (3), 327-342

Books (1)

Smith, L., (2023). A Cultural History of Medicine in the Age of Enlightenment. Bloomsbury Academic. 978-1-4275-6990-5

Book chapters (8)

Smith, L., Beautiful Fertility in the Eighteenth Century. In: A Cultural History of Beauty, in the Age of Enlightenment. Editors: Harvey, K., . Bloomsbury Academic

Smith, L., Beautiful Fertility in the Eighteenth Century. In: A Cultural History of Beauty in the Enlightenment. Editors: Harvey, K., . Bloomsbury Academic

Smith, L., (2023). Loneliness and Food in Early Modern England. In: The Routledge History of Loneliness. Editors: Barclay, K., Chalus, E. and Simonton, D., . Routledge. 177- 192. 9780429331848

Smith, LW., (2019). The Many Meanings of an Eighteenth-Century Account of a Caesarean Operation. In: Early Modern Ireland and the World of Medicine: Practitioners, Collectors and Contexts. Editors: Cunningham, J., . Manchester University Press. 978-1526138156

Smith, LW., (2016). Secrets of place: The medical casebooks of Vivant-Augustin Ganiare. In: Secrets and Knowledge in Medicine and Science, 1500-1800. 213- 231

Smith, LW., (2012). Sloane as friend and physician of the family. In: From Books to Bezoars: Sir Hans Sloane and his Collections. Editors: Walker, A., Macgregor, A. and Hunter, M., . The British Library. 48- 56. 978-0-7123-5880-4

Smith, LW., (2011). Secrets of place: The medical casebooks of Vivant-Augustin Ganiare. In: Secrets and Knowledge in Medicine and Science, 1500-1800. 213- 231

Smith, LW., (2010). La Raillerie des Femmes? Les Femmes, La Sterilité et la Société en France à l’Époque Moderne. In: Femmes en Fleurs: Santé, Sexualité et Génération du Moyen Age aux Lumières. Editors: McClive, C. and Pellegrin, N., . Publications de l’Université de Saint-Etienne. 203- 220. 978-2-86272-539-0

Dataset (1)

Smith, L., Crymble, A., Rich, R. and Fox, S., (2023).Three Thousand Dishes on a Georgian Table, 1788-1813 -- Dataset

Other (2)

Smith, LW., (2017).Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern France: Treatises by Caring Physicians and Surgeons (1581-1625): Francois Rousset, Jean Liebault, Jacques Guillemeau, Jacques Duval and Louis De Serres.. RENAISSANCE AND REFORMATION. 40(1)

Smith, LW., (2016).Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England by Jennifer Evans. Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 90(4),Project MUSE

Grants and funding


The Hungry Human Project Essex

School of Advanced Study, University of London (Funder)

Being Human Festival: The Hungry Human Project.

University of Essex (QR Impact Fund)


European cuisine and British identity in the age of nationalism, 1760-1837

British Academy

+44 (0) 1206 874120


Colchester Campus