Staff – University of Copenhagen

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Signe Bodil Nipper Nielsen

Signe Bodil Nipper Nielsen

Academic staff

I work in the intersection of the history of the body, the history of medicine and the history of science. I focus mainly on Denmark and Europe in the early modern period, but have also worked on the nineteenth century. 

I have worked on legal history in the late Enlightenment and the history of childlessness, sterility and impotence in the late nineteenth century. My PhD was on the history of early empiricism and scientific observation, natural marvels, the order of nature, and human generation (monstrous births etc.) in the 17th and 18th centuries. My forthcoming book, Medicine and Monstrous Generation in the Seventeenth Century: The Case of Thomas Bartholin will appear with Ashgate Publishers in 2014 and is built on this work.

Currently, I am working on a Carlsberg funded project on the cultural history of dissection and autopsy in Denmark c. 1650-1840, asking among other things how attitudes to religion and magic and more generally cultural conceptions of the human body and death interrelated with the various ways and contexts in which human bodies were opened.

Besides, I am interested in the sociology and anthropology of reproduction, feminist and gender theory, and topics and debates related to historigraphy.


Teaching and supervision areas:


Early modern European history, focussing on:

Natural philosophy

The social and cultural history of medicine

Body, gender, generation and sexuality

Anatomy and dissecting practices

Epistemology, scientific observation, empiricism

Wonders and marvels


Natural history, collecting practices and museums

The relationship between religion, magic and science

Erudite culture, epistolary networks

Historiography and theory

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