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Jessica Hamel-Akré

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow

Jessica is a historian of early modern and eighteenth-century British medicine and a literary scholar. Her work considers the parallel medicalization of dietary restraint and dietary illness, the gendering of appetite control, and the conceptualization of dietary virtue as a modern ideal. Jessica is especially interested in the influence of polite rational cultures on women's spiritual practices or supernatural explanations of food refusal. She is also interested in the philosophy of early dietary medicine and the process of constructing modern moral standards of women’s food refusal through popular literature and religious writing, in addition to medical theories.

Her project 'Possession, Dietary Medicine, and Women's Food Refusal' is funded by a two-year SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship. She joined HPS after completing a PhD, funded by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier scholarship, in English Studies at the Université de Montréal. Jessica previously served as a School of Literature, Arts and Media visiting research fellow in English at the University of Sydney.

Jessica is a Postdoctoral Affiliate of Newnham College.

Research interests

British medicine and literature in the long eighteenth century; social history of women's food refusal; philosophy of appetite control; medicine and religion; history of feminist thought 

Jessica Hamel-Akré