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Durham University

Centre for Visual Arts and Culture

Lenka Sediva

Working title of PhD thesis: The Visuality of Domestic Health in Early Nineteenth-Century Bohemia

Supervisors: Dr Matthew Eddy (Department of Philosophy), Professor Janet Stewart (School of Modern Languages and Cultures) and Dr James Koranyi (Department of History)

I am reading PhD in Visual Culture with focus on Women and Domestic Health in early nineteenth-century Bohemia. I recently completed my Master’s studies in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine at Durham University. I also hold my MA in European Cultural Studies from University of West Bohemia in Pilsen in Czech Republic and Johannes Gutenberg-University in Germany. My research interest is comparative social history in relation to material and visual culture of everyday life. More specifically, I will study authentic artefacts used and/or produced in the early nineteenth century household to investigate the history of science and medicine with special focus on domestic health, women’s history, and nationalism Bohemia.

In my doctoral thesis, I wish to explore the historical relationship between everyday activities and the performative visualisation of gendered knowledge. To pursue this goal, I will use the life and work of the widely-read culinary expert Magdalena Dobromila Rettigova (1785-1845) to argue that the middle-class house was a “memory theatre” of domestic health during the early nineteenth century in Bohemia. I will translate this old concept of how to remember performativelly or visually into domesticity. In other words, I will use objects as things that had specific meaning in specific space in Rettigova's household. I concentrate on three sites where Rettigova refined her knowledge of domestic health: the kitchen, the dining-room and the parlour. I will focus on the preserved objects from her household. Using her published and manuscript domestic writings as guides to interpret the way she used artefacts, I treat the rooms of nineteenth-century homes as spaces where performances, meaningful movements, of domestic health were made and remembered. I draw particularly upon works of Frances Yates, Aby Warburg and the methods of visuality and/or gender, especially those of Ludmilla Jordanova, Matthew Daniel Eddy, Amy Bentley, and Frances Guerin.


2017-2020 The Durham Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships in Visual Culture

2016-2017 Durham University MA Studentship – Full Tuition

2016-2017 British Society for History of Science MA Studentship

2016 Master’s Degree in European Cultural Studieswith Honours

2015-2016 Erasmus Studentship, Das Institut für Film-, Theater- und empirische Kulturwissenschaft,

Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany

2015 Erasmus Studentship, Department of Philosophy, Durham University, England

2013 Dean’s Award for the Outstanding Bachelor Thesis

2012 DAAD-University Summer Course Grant, University of Regensburg, Germany


United Kingdom: National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh; Durham University Libraries

Czech Republic: National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague; The Archive of Strahov Abbey, Prague; The Museum of Czech Literature, Prague; The National Museum in Prague; The National Museum in Terezin; The Museum of Litomysl; Pilsen City Archive, Pilsen; Education and Research Library of the Pilsen Region, Pilsen.

Germany: Institut für Geschichte, Theorie und Ethik der Medizin, JGU Mainz; The University of Regensburg


Attendance in Digital Approaches to the History of Science, workshop I, organized 28. 9. 2017 at Faculty of History, University of Oxford

Paper Domestic Science in Early Nineteenth Century-Bohemia acceptedfor BSHS postgraduate conference in April 2017.

Attendance in symposium Food and Medical Traditions from the Plant World: Exploring Herbal Uses organized 12. 10. 2016 by the University College London School of Pharmacy, London.

Attendance in symposium Ars Culinaria Europaea organized 29.–30. 4. 2016 by the University of Pardubice (Czech Republic).

Participation in conference Migration und Generation organized 5.–7. 11. 2015 by the University of Mainz (Germany). Completing of conference report.

Participation in Durham’s Visual Culture Workshop organized by Newcastle University's Fine Arts Department, 16th June 2015.


Czech, English, German.