Researcher biography

  • Past Degrees: BA (Hons) / LLB (Hons) UQ
  • Supervisors: Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens, Dr Karin Sellberg, and Associate Professor Lisa Featherstone
  • Dissertation Title:  Spurious Pregnancies: False Conceptions, Molas and the Human Foetus in English and European Medicine and Society, 1600-1800
  • Area of Research: This thesis will investigate the history of the false conception (also referred to as mola or mole) in early modern European medicine, science and society. False conceptions were generally described as ‘unformed lumps of flesh’ that were engendered in women’s wombs, and which demonstrated the same symptoms as a real or true pregnancy.  In many accounts, they were said to display signs of movement within the womb, and outside of it, and could have characteristics such as eyes, teeth and hair.  This thesis will present the first intellectual and cultural history of the false conception, predominantly within English, French and Dutch scientific communities and societies within the period 1600 – 1800. Through examining the history of knowledge about the mola, this thesis will explore the processes by which medical and social discourses constructed ideas about the body and the boundaries between “human” and “non-human” life. In doing so, this thesis aims to identify how these discourses of classification have shaped modern narratives regarding reproduction and pregnancy.