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Department of History

Staff Profile

Dr Cathy McClive

Personal web page

Lecturer (Early Modern European History) in the Department of History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41046
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41046

Contact Dr Cathy McClive

I specialize in the social and cultural history of medicine, embodiment, gender, sexualities and expertise in early modern France. My first monograph Menstruation and Procreation in Early Modern France (Ashgate, 2015) argues that early modern menstruating bodies were not stable signifiers. It questions our assumptions about the gendering of menstruation in the past and explores the complexities of early modern understandings of the relationship between menstruation, menstrual blood and reproduction. This work was described by a reviewer as a ‘highly original and important book’ and an ‘excellent corrective to… the work of Laqueur’ on structural sexual differences.

My article, 'Masculinity on Trial', published in History Workshop Journal in 2009, which argues that the male body could be just as uncertain and opaque as the more frequently-studied female body, is one of fourteen articles, chosen from the journal's archives over forty years, currently available free online (until January 2016) in a new virtual issue celebrating Gender and Early Modern Histories edited by Laura Gowing.

I am currently working on two new major research projects. The first, which developed out of research undertaken during a junior EURIAS fellowship at the Collegium de Lyon in 2011-2012, is a microhistorical analysis of the Lyonnais Cause Célèbre of 1767, the disappearance of Claudine Rouge. The Rouge affair will act as a window into the structures, practice and everyday application of legal medicine (or medical expertise) in eighteenth-century France as well as a vehicle for exploring the development of microhistorical methodologies. The second project is a critical edition of an unpublished seventeenth-century French midwifery text written in the form of a letter on ‘the art of delivery’ by mistress midwife at the Hotel-Dieu of Clermont-Ferrand, Mme Baudoin, to Parisian society physician Dr Vallant.

I am also interested in the gendering of interpersonal violence and attitudes towards infant-feeding, particularly the help and advice available to breast-feeding mothers and issues surrounding tongue tie in early modern France.

I have supervised undergraduate and MA dissertations on topics ranging from infanticide, domestic medicine, use of spas, childhood, gender and violence, recipe collections and mental health in the early modern period to abortion in 1960s Britain and lunatic asylums in nineteenth-century Durham. I currently have three doctoral students working with me on the letters of the Duchesse de Chatillon, household health in the North-East and Prostitution in London and Paris in the long eighteenth century.

I have supervised one student to completion:

Alison Montgomery (AHRC funded) 2008-2011 (The) man, his body, and his society: masculinity and the male experience in English and Scottish medicine c.1640-c.1780.

I am happy to supervise postgraduate students in any area of early modern social and cultural history, as well as topics more closely related to my own research.

Research Groups

  • Continental Europe and Russia
  • Early Modern
  • Gender
  • Intellectual Culture
  • Science/Medicine

Research Interests

  • Early modern French social and cultural history
  • Embodiment, Gender and Sexualities
  • Expertise
  • Legal medicine
  • Reproduction/Childbirth


Books: authored

Books: edited

  • 2010 (co-edited with Pellegrin, Nicole) Femmes en fleurs, femmes en corps: sang, santé, sexualités du moyen âge aux lumières, Presses Universitaires de Saint-Etienne.

Edited works: contributions

  • 2012 'L’affaire de Claudine Rouge Une Cause Célèbre Médico-Légale à Lyon (1767)', in Privat-Savigny, Maria-Anne (ed.), Lyon au XVIIIe: Un siècle surprenant, Musees Gadagne, pp. 293-295.

Essays in edited volumes

Journal papers: academic

Journal papers: online

Teaching Areas

  • Early Modern Bodies
  • Medicine, Gender and Sexualities in Early Modern Europe
  • Society and Culture in Early Modern France
  • The Disappearance of Claudine Rouge: Murder, Mystery and Microhistory in Eighteenth-Century France