Project team


Kaat Wils (KU Leuven)

Kaat Wils is professor in Cultural History since 1750 at KU Leuven. She skaattudied history and philosophy at the universities of Louvain-la-Neuve and Leuven (BE) and Brown University (Rhode Island, US). Her doctoral dissertation dealt with Positivism and intellectual culture in Belgium and the Netherlands, 1845-1914 (Amsterdam University Press, 2005). Her research interests are to be situated in intellectual history, the modern history of the humanities and the biomedical sciences, gender history and history education. She (co)edited books on the history of the gendered body (Leuven University Press, 2001), on the medicalization of 19th-century society (Historische Uitgeverij, 2002), on degeneration theory in Belgium (Leuven University Press, 2003), on modern cultures of asceticism (Berghahn, 2011) and on the relation between religion and medicine (Leuven University Press, 2017).

Michèle Goyens (KU Leuven)

Michèle Goyens is full professor in French lmichèleinguistics, with a specialization of diachronic linguistics. She is a member of the research unit Linguistics, and more specifically of QLVL (Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics), a research group that provides support for computational techniques, and whose approach is always quantitative, corpusbased. Her research focuses on several linguistic issues with respect to French, in the last decade especially on the development of the medical terminology in French from the Middle Ages onwards, using digitized corpora.

Joris Vandendriessche (KU Leuven)

jorisJoris Vandendriessche (°1987) is a tenure-track research professor (BOFZAP) at the Cultural History since 1750 Research Group of KU Leuven. He studied history at KU Leuven and the University of Minnesota (USA). His research focuses on the history of scholarly societies, scientific publishing and the role of science in medical care. With Benoit Majerus, he co-edited the volume Medical Histories of Belgium. New Narratives on Health, Care and Citizenship in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Manchester University Press, 2021). Within the Cultural History since 1750 Research Group at KU Leuven, he co-supervises PhD research on the historical relation between medicine and religion, and with Kaat Wils and Tinne Claes, he directs the research network ‘Medicine and Catholicism since the late 19th century‘. Joris is director of the Leuven Centre for Health Humanities, which aims to develop the interdisciplinary field of health humanities at KU Leuven. As a board member of the Young Academy of Belgium (Flanders), he actively promotes and engages with science communication.

Cécile Vanderpelen (ULB)

Cécile VaVanderpelennderpelen is professor in History, with a specialization of history of contemporary Catholicism. She is a member of two research units: Centre interdisciplinaire d’étude des religions et de la laïcité and Monde moderne et contemporain. As a researcher, she studied the cultural aspects of Catholicism (literature, theater, education). She is interested in how Catholic institutions adapted to social developments (progressive installation of pluralism). Her current research focuses on the responses of the Belgian Catholic world to the so-called ‘sexual revolution’. She also researched gender issues, the history of sexuality and ethics.

Frédéric Lemmers (KBR)


Frédéric Lemmers is Head of Digitization Services at the Royal Library of Belgium since 2011. His experience in the field of digitization projects dedicated to patrimonial and scientific collections includes mass digitization projects funded on the Belgian federal level and on the European level, as well as network projects realized in cooperation with universities and nonprofit associations (ASBL-VZW).


Jolien Gijbels (KU Leuven)

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Jolien Gijbels is a doctoral researcher attached to the Cultural History since 1750 Research Group at the University of Leuven. In her PhD dissertation, she analyses the religious beliefs and ideological convictions of Belgian physicians in the nineteenth century. Her research focuses on medical debates within the subfield of gynecology and obstetrics, where ideological division was clearly at play. In the past years she published on the disposal of dissected human remains, postmortem caesarean sections and obstetric dilemmas in nineteenth-century Belgium.

Valérie Leclercq (ULB)

photo valérieValérie Leclercq is a post-doctoral researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Her areas of interest include 19th and 20th-century medicine, the history of patients, psychiatry and medical ethics. Her PhD dissertation focused on interactions between patients and medical professionals / caregivers in turn-of-the-20th century hospitals. Now a member of the Centre interdisciplinaire d’étude des religions et de la laïcité (CIERL), she is researching medical knowledge about human consciousness and the human self in the 19th century, and questioning the influence of polarizing political or religious ideologies in the construction of such knowledge.

Joffrey Liénart (ULB)

Joffrey Liénart worked as a PhD-sDSC_0021 (1)tudent at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Religions and Secularism (CIERL) at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He was attached to the IMPRESS project from 2017 until 2019.