History of the Body

This October, Dr Willemijn Ruberg has presented her book History of the Body. It explores a wide variety of themes in order to introduce the reader to body in cultural history.

Dr. Willemijn Ruberg. Foto: Ed van Rijswijk
Dr Willemijn Ruberg

The body has come to occupy a central place in cultural history, with historians consistently exploring such themes as the history of disease, disability, beauty, and sexuality. This engaging and concise book offers a clear introduction to the history of the body, introducing a wide array of conceptual approaches to the field. It delineates the topic of body history and its origins in cultural history and gender history, distinguishing it from related disciplines such as the history of the self, the history of medicine, the history of emotion and gender history. Bringing in a wealth of thought-provoking examples from historical writing, it goes on to explore a range of themes, including racism, anorexia, gender and sexuality, psychoanalysis and agency.

With further reading and explanations of key concepts provided throughout, this wide-ranging yet accessible text is the first introductory book to address this vibrant field from a theoretical perspective. It is ideal for students of historiography, medical history or the history of the body.

Willemijn Ruberg is Associate Professor in Cultural History at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She has published extensively on the history of the body, emotion, gender, knowledge and forensic medicine. She is currently leading the research project ‘Forensic Culture: A Comparative Analysis of Forensic Practices in Europe, 1930-2000’, funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant (2018-2023).


  • Title: History of the Body
  • Author: Willemijn Ruberg
  • Publisher: Red Globe Press
  • ISBN: 9781352007688