Dr Lisa Smith

Department of History
Dr Lisa Smith
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 874120

  • Location

    5NW.7.10, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    During term 1: ordinarily Monday 12:00-13:00 and Wednesday 11:00-12:00 or by appointment



Its 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. 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, Notches, and Wonders & Marvels. I tweet as @historybeagle. Dissertation Supervision I am happy to supervise projects on any of the topics listed above, as well as more general topics (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 - present)

Other academic

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

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

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Britain and France, ca 1600-1800

Digital History

Medicine and Science



Gender History

Conferences and presentations

A Recipe for a Virtual Conference

Invited presentation, Colchester, United Kingdom, 11/1/2018

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

Oxford, United Kingdom, 4/1/2018

Chance encounters with the past: crowdsourcing early modern recipes

Invited presentation, London, 12/12/2017

'Recipe Books and Family Histories'

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

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

Keynote presentation, Thomas Plume's Library, Maldon, 11/11/2017

'Sir Hans Sloane's Supernatural Correspondence'

Keynote presentation, Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall, London, 26/10/2017

'Easing Childbirth Pain in Early Modern France'

Invited presentation, Oxford, United Kingdom, 23/9/2017

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

The Wellcome Library, 10/7/2017

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

@historybeagle, 22/6/2017

'Introducing Margaret Baker, a Twitter essay'

@historybeagle, 15/6/2017

'Imagining Inexpressible Suffering in the Eighteenth Century'

Invited presentation, Durham, United Kingdom, 7/6/2017

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

Invited presentation, Oxford, United Kingdom, 12/5/2017

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

Keynote presentation, London, United Kingdom, 25/3/2017

'Digital Methods'

Invited presentation, London, 25/2/2017

'Collaborating with Students on the Digital Recipe Books Project'

Invited presentation, London, 24/2/2017

'Finding Hans Sloane'

Invited presentation, London, 22/10/2016

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

Canterbury, United Kingdom, 9/7/2016

'Hans Sloane's Human Fossils'

London, 17/5/2016

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

Keynote presentation, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge, 31/3/2016

'Finding Hans Sloane'

Lancaster, United Kingdom, 22/3/2016

'Close-reading and Crowd-sourcing'

Invited presentation, Berlin, Germany, 19/2/2016

'Fragments from an Eighteenth-century Family Scandal'

Invited presentation, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 17/2/2016

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

Invited presentation, Dublin, Ireland, 3/9/2015

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

Sheffield, United Kingdom, 16/7/2015

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

Invited presentation, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 4/6/2015

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

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

  • Navigating the Digital World (CS220)

  • The Making of the Modern World since 1750 (HR100)

  • Becoming a Historian (HR101)

  • Europe Transformed: 1450-1750 (HR111)

  • History Works: Beyond Your BA (HR200)

  • Approaches to History (HR211)

  • Choosing Your Past: How to Design and Manage a Research Project (HR231)

  • Supernatural and Natural Worlds in Early Modern Europe (HR250)

  • The Early Modern Households Project (HR650)

  • Research Project (HR831)


Journal articles (7)

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

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

Lisa Wynne Smith, (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

Book chapters (4)

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

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

(2011). Secrets of place: The medical casebooks of Vivant-Augustin Ganiare. In: Secrets and Knowledge in Medicine and Science, 1500-1800. 213- 231. 9780754668541

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

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),Johns Hopkins University Press

+44 (0) 1206 874120


5NW.7.10, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

During term 1: ordinarily Monday 12:00-13:00 and Wednesday 11:00-12:00 or by appointment