Dr Jennifer Hillman

Visiting Research Fellow

(E-mail: j.hillman@chester.ac.uk)

British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow 2013 – 17


BA (York), MA (York), PhD (York)


I am a historian of early modern Europe, with particular interests in the religious and cultural history of seventeenth-century France.

In 2004, I began studying for my first degree in History at the University of York, where I went on to complete an MA in Early Modern History in 2008, and a PhD in 2012. I subsequently worked as a research assistant at the University of Central Lancashire, before taking up a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship at the European University Institute, Florence (2012-13). In 2013 I was awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, which I held at Queen Mary University of London, before joining the Department of History and Archaeology at Chester in from September 2014 - June 2017. 


My research explores the history of lay piety in Europe during the Counter Reformation era.

My doctoral thesis was a study of the devotional culture of the most elite pious female network in mid-seventeenth-century France and was the basis for my monograph: Female Piety and the Catholic Reformation in France (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014). In 2015, it was awarded Faculty Research Monograph of the Year

I am currently working on a new post-doctoral project which focuses on spiritual biographies and life writing in early modern France.

In summer 2016, I developed my postdoctoral project as a Visiting Fellow at the Moore Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

My research and teaching interests also include:

  • The Reformations in Europe and beyond
  • Religious belief, dissent and heresy 
  • Spiritual direction, the discernment of spirits, healing and possession
  • Devotional cultures, the cult of relics and pilgrimage  
  • The histories of friendship and emotions   
  • The history of material culture, including devotional objects and letter writing
  • Gender and women’s history

Published work


J. Hillman, Female Piety and the Catholic Reformation in France (London: Pickering & Chatto, Religious Cultures in the Early Modern World Monograph Series, 2014)

Journal Articles

‘The Martyr in the Chapel: Relic Translation and Sacred History in the French Vexin,’ (Forthcoming, Studies in Church History, 2017).

‘Testing the Spirit of the Prophets: Jean Chéron, Melancholy and the ‘Illusions’ of Dévotes in Seventeenth-century France,’ Etudes Epistémè, 28 (December, 2015). Read online: https://episteme.revues.org/827

‘“Always toward absent lovers, love's tide stronger flows:” Spiritual Lovesickness and Melancholy in the Letters of Anne-Marie Martinozzi,’ Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, vol. 41, no. 2, (Summer, 2015): 70 – 87.

‘Appetite for Discovery: Sense and Sentiment in the Early Modern World,’ Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, vol. 41, no. 2 (Summer, 2015): 1 – 5.

Putting Faith to the Test: Anne de Gonzague and the Incombustible Relic,’ Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 44, no. 1 (Winter, 2014): 163 – 86.


Journal Articles in preparation

‘“Her Story” and Hagiography: Writing Female Lives in Seventeenth-Century France,’ (in preparation).

‘Internal Theatre and Emotional Scripts in Early Modern French Meditative Literature,’ (under review).


Review Articles

‘Soul Mates and Collaborators: Spiritual Direction in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe,’ History Compass, vol. 13, no. 9 (2015): 476 – 484.

J. Hillman, The Religious Emotions (Review, 2012) 


Book Reviews

(Review) ‘Lewis C. Seifert and Rebecca M. Wilkin (eds.), Men and Women Making Friends in Early Modern France,’ Renaissance Studies (Forthcoming, 2016).

(Review) ‘Joanna de Groot and Sue Morgan, Sex, Gender and the Sacred: Reconfiguring Religion in Gender History,’ Women’s History Review, (September, 2015).

(Review) ‘Women and the Counter Reformation in Early Modern Munster,’ (November 2014).  

(Review) ‘Joseph Bergin, Church, Society and Religious Change in France 1580 – 1730,’ Journal of Early Modern History, 14, no. 3 (2010): 270 – 72.