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About Dr Jennifer Hillman

In 2004, I began studying for my first degree in History at the University of York, where I went on to complete an MA in Early Modern History in 2008, and a PhD in 2012. I subsequently worked as a research assistant at the University of Central Lancashire, before taking up a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship at the European University Institute, Florence (2012-13). In 2013 I was awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, which I held at Queen Mary University of London, before joining the Department of History and Archaeology at Chester in from September 2014 to June 2017. I continue to contribute to teaching and research in the Department as a Visiting Research Fellow.


I am currently working on a monograph project which focuses on spiritual biographies, healing and the spiritual journey in early modern France.

More generally, my research explores lay, female piety during the Counter-Reformation era. My doctoral thesis was a study of the devotional culture of the most elite pious female network in mid-seventeenth-century France and was the basis for my monograph: Female Piety and the Catholic Reformation in France (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014). In 2015, it was awarded Faculty Research Monograph of the Year

My research and teaching interests also include:

  • The Reformations in Europe and beyond
  • Religious belief, dissent and heresy 
  • Deviancy, crime and witchcraft
  • Spiritual direction, the discernment of spirits, healing and demonic possession
  • Devotional cultures, the cult of relics and pilgrimage  
  • The histories of friendship and emotions   
  • The history of material culture, including devotional objects and letter writing
  • Gender and women’s history

Published Work


Soul Travel: Christian Spiritual Journeys in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, eds. Jennifer Hillman & Elizabeth Tingle (Forthcoming, 2019, Peter Lang).

Female Piety and the Catholic Reformation in France (London: Routledge, Religious Cultures in the Early Modern World Monograph Series, 2014)  

Journal Articles

‘The “Many Lives” of Madeleine de Lamoignon: Writing a Spiritual Biography in Early Modern France,’ French Historical Studies, 42, no. 1 (January, 2019). 

‘Saint Pientia and the Chàteau de La Roche-Guyon: Relic Translations and Sacred History in Seventeenth-Century France,’ Studies in Church History, Volume 53 (2017) 257- 271.

‘Lay Women and Religion in Early Modern Europe: Past, Present and Future Directions,’ Church History and Religious Culture, 97, no. 3 (2017): 369-380.

‘Testing the Spirit of the Prophets: Jean Chéron, Melancholy and the ‘Illusions’ of Dévotes in Seventeenth-century France,’ Etudes Epistémè, 28 (December, 2015). Read online:

‘“Always toward absent lovers, love's tide stronger flows:” Spiritual Lovesickness and Melancholy in the Letters of Anne-Marie Martinozzi,’ Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, vol. 41, no. 2, (Summer, 2015): 70 – 87.

Putting Faith to the Test: Anne de Gonzague and the Incombustible Relic,’ Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 44, no. 1 (Winter, 2014): 163 – 86.

Book Chapters

‘Internal Theatre and Emotional Scripts in Jesuit Meditative Literature,’ in Charles-Louis Morand Métivier and Andreea Marculescu (eds.), Affective and Emotional Economies in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

‘The Contagiousness of the Sacred: Writing Spiritual Biographies in Le Puy-en-Vélay,’ in Soul Travel: Christian Spiritual Journeys in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, eds. Jennifer Hillman & Elizabeth Tingle (Forthcoming, 2019, Under Contract with Peter Lang). 

Co-authored with Elizabeth Tingle, ‘Introduction: Soul Travel in Medieval and Early Modern Europe,’ in Soul Travel: Christian Spiritual Journeys in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, eds. Jennifer Hillman & Elizabeth Tingle (Forthcoming, 2019, Under Contract with Peter Lang). 

‘Introspection and the Search for the Self in Early Modern France,’ in Patrick Hutton (ed.), A Cultural History of Memory in the 18th Century (Forthcoming, 2019, Under contract with Bloomsbury Press). 

 Book Reviews

(Review) Clare Copeland, ‘Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi: The Making of a Counter-Reformation Saint,’ European History Quarterly (2017).

(Review) ‘Lewis C. Seifert and Rebecca M. Wilkin (eds.), Men and Women Making Friends in Early Modern France,’ Renaissance Studies (Forthcoming, 2016).

(Review) ‘Joanna de Groot and Sue Morgan, Sex, Gender and the Sacred: Reconfiguring Religion in Gender History,’ Women’s History Review, (September, 2015).

(Review) ‘Women and the Counter Reformation in Early Modern Munster,’ (November 2014).  

(Review) ‘Joseph Bergin, Church, Society and Religious Change in France 1580 – 1730,’ Journal of Early Modern History, 14, no. 3 (2010): 270 – 72.

Journal Articles in Preparation

Imagined Landscapes: Spiritual (Auto) Biography and Virtual Pilgrimage in Seventeenth-Century France

A Room with a View: Conversion and the Senses in a Seventeenth-Century Prie-Dieu