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)

Joris Vandendriessche is a postdoctoral researcher in the Culturaljoris History since 1750 Research Group at KU Leuven. In 2014, he defended his doctoral dissertation: Arbiters of science. Medical societies and scientific culture in nineteenth-century Belgium, in which he analyzed the role of scientific sociability in the Belgian medical field on the basis of 19th-century medical journals. His current research project focuses on the history of the academic hospitals in Leuven (2015-2018) and will result in a peer-reviewed monograph with Leuven University Press. Together with Benoît Majerus (University of Luxembourg), he is editing a volume titled Medical Histories of Belgium which will bring together existing research and offer new perspectives for Belgian medical history.

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).

PhD students:

Jolien Gijbels (KU Leuven)


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 has researched the disposal of dissected human remains and medical debates about the post-mortem cesarean operations for reasons of baptism in nineteenth-century Belgium.


Joffrey Liénart (ULB)

Joffrey Liénart works as a PhD-sDSC_0021 (1)tudent in the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Religions and Secularism (CIERL) at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). His thesis would reveal the tensions in the medical world in respect of the physicians believes on medecine family and social diseases issues  (1840-1914). Before starting this new challenge, he has participated in several projects in the field of archives for the European Commission and the State Archives of Belgium.