School of History

Dr Elizabeth Hunter


Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellow



I joined the Centre for the History of Emotions in 2015.  Prior to that I studied at the University of Oxford, completing a B.A. in English Literature and History and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in the History of Medicine.  My current project is a monograph on sleep disorders in early modern England.


Research Interests:

My research integrates the study of medicine, emotion and religious identities in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England.  It seeks to uncover the complex relationship between spiritual and medical approaches to emotions of terror and despair.  The topic of my doctoral thesis was religious melancholy and the theology of double predestination in puritan writing.  I am now researching beliefs about the causes and cures of sleep disorders in a number of contexts, including medical theory, witchcraft and demonology, remedies found in recipe books, religious discussions on the moral and spiritual significance of sleep, and experiences of sleep disorders recorded in diaries.   

  •                 History of madness and melancholy
  •                 History of terror, sadness and despair
  •                 The English Reformation
  •                 Witchcraft and the supernatural
  •                 Food history and recipe books
  •                 Self-writing and biography (especially puritan)
  •                 The history of death and dying