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Tampere University
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About me

I am a historian of late medieval and early modern sainthood, disability, and healing. I am currently working as a senior research fellow at the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX). Previously I have worked as an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher at Tampere University, as an EU Researcher at the University of Bremen ('Creative Unit Homo Debilis'), and as a visiting research fellow at the Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University. 

Among my publications are two monographs focusing on the interplay of infirmity/disability and sainthood: Childhood Disability and Social Integration in the Middle Ages. Constructions of Impairments in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Canonization Processes, published by Brepols in 2016, and a Saints, Infirmity, and Community in the Late Middle Ages, published by Amsterdam University Press in 2020. My current research focuses on the formation and interpretation of religious experiences of infirmity in early modern Italy. From September 2021, I am leading a research project "Lived Religion and the Changing Meaning(s) of Disability from the Late Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution" funded by the Academy of Finland (2021 - 2025).

In recent years, I have also been focusing on public disability history, running a project titled "Vammaisuuden vaiettu historia" ("The silent history of disability") funded by the Kone Foundation. I enjoy discussing and speaking about my research in public, to various types of audiences.

Research topics

Medieval and early modern hagiography, dis/ability, and healing.

Research unit

Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences

Research career

Selected publications

Monographs

(with Sari Katajala-Peltomaa and Marika Räsänen) Verta vuotava kuva ja muita outoja ihmeitä. Eletty usko myöhäiskeskiajalla (The Bleeding image and other strange miracles. Lived religion in the late Middle Ages). Helsinki: Gaudeamus, 2022.

Saints, Infirmity, and Community in the Late Middle Ages. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020.

Childhood Disability and Social Integration in the Middle Ages. Constructions of Impairments in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Canonization Processes. Studies in the History of Daily Life, 4. Turnhout: Brepols, 2016.

Edited article compilations

(with Sari Katajala-Peltomaa and Iona McCleery, eds.) A Companion to Medieval Miracles. Reading Medieval Sources, 5. Leiden: Brill, 2021.

(with Rose-Marie Peake, and Päivi Räisänen-Schröder, eds,) Lived Religion and Everyday Life in Early Modern Hagiographic Material. Palgrave Studies in the History of Experience. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

(with Jussi Rantala, eds.) Travel, Pilgrimage, and Social Interaction from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. London & New York: Routledge, 2019.

(with Christian Krötzl and Katariina Mustakallio, eds.), Infirmity from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Social and Cultural Approaches to Health, Weakness and Care. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015.

Refereed scientific articles

'The Religious Experience of Ill Health in Late Sixteenth-Century Italy', in Histories of Experience in the World of Lived Religion, ed. Sari Katjala-Peltomaa and Raisa Maria Toivo. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022, 91-114 [https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-92140-8] 

'The Infirm Child between Parental Worry and Divine Powers' in Kids Those Days. Children in Medieval Culture, ed. Lahney Preston-Matto & Mary A. Valante. Leiden: Brill, 2021.

’Physical Disability and Bodily Difference’, in A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections, Reading Medieval Sources, 5, ed. Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Jenni Kuuliala & McCleery, Iona (eds.), Leiden: Brill, 2021, 186-205.

(with Sari Katajala-Peltomaa) ’Practical Matters: Canonization Processes in the Making’, in A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections, Reading Medieval Sources, 5, ed. Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Jenni Kuuliala & McCleery, Iona (eds.), 2021, 78-101.

(with Daniel Blackie) ‘Katsaus vammaisuuden historian tutkimukseen’ ['Taking stock of disability history']. Historiallinen Aikakauskirja (2021), 156-164.

'Infirmity and the Miraculous in the Early Seventeenth Century. The San Carlo Cycle of Paintings in the Duomo of Milan’, in Representing Infirmity. Diseased Bodies in Renaissance Italy, ed. John Henderson, Fredrika Jacobs and Jonathan K. Nelson, London & New York: Routledge, 2021, 213–232.

'The Saint as Medicator: Medicine and the Miraculous in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Italy', Social History of Medicine (2020): hkaa053, https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkaa053.

(with Reima Välimäki) 'Deafness and Pastoral Care in the Middle Ages', in Disability in Medieval Christian Philosophy and Theology, ed. Scott M. Williams. London and New York: Routledge, 2020.

‘Cure, Community and the Miraculous in Early Modern Florence’, in Lived Religion and Everyday Life in Early Modern Hagiographic Material, ed. Jenni Kuuliala, Rose-Marie Peake, and Päivi Räisänen-Schröder. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, 265–92.

(with Bianca Frohne) ‘The Trauma of Pain in Later Medie val Miracle Accounts’, in Trauma in the Middle Ages, ed. Wendy Turner and Christina Lee (Leiden: Brill, 2018).

‘Proving Misfortune, Proving Sanctity. Reconstructing Physical Impairment in Fourteenth-Century Miracle Testimonies’, in Miracles in Canonization Processes: Structures, Functions, and Methodologies, ed. Christian Krötzl & Sari Katajala-Peltomaa (Turnhout: Brepols 2018). 

Infirmitas in Monastic Rules’, in Disability in Antiquity, ed. Christian Laes (London & New York: Routledge, 2017), 342–56.

‘Disability and Religious Practices in Late Medieval Prussia: Infirmity and the Miraculous in the Canonization Process of St Dorothea of Montau (1404–1406)’, in Lived Religion in the Baltic Sea Region during the Long Reformation, ed. Sari Katajala-Peltomaa and Raisa Maria Toivo (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 46–74.

‘Heavenly Healing or Failure of Faith? Partial Cures in Later Medieval Canonization Processes’, in Church and Belief in the Middle Ages: Popes, Saints, and Crusaders, ed. Sari Katajala-Peltomaa & Kirsi Salonen (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016), 171–98.

‘Unlikely Heroes: A Study on Three Miracle Narratives of Disabled Beggar Children in Late Thirteenth-Century Hagiographic Sources’, in Katariina Mustakallio and Jussi Hanska (ed.) Premodern Child (Rome: Acta IRF, 2015), 149–69.

‘Nobility, Community, and Physical Disability in Later Medieval Canonization Processes’, in Christian Krötzl, Katariina Mustakallio and Jenni Kuuliala (eds), Infirmity in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Social and Cultural Approaches to Health, Weakness and Care (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015), 67–82. 

’Vammaisuus ja myöhäiskeskiajan lääketieteen sosiaalihistoria ihmekertomusten valossa’, Hippokrates, 2015, 61–87.

‘Paranemista etsimässä – ruumiinvammat ja pyhiinvaellukset keskiajan Pohjolassa’, in Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Christian Krötzl and Marjo Meriluoto-Jaakkola (eds), Suomalaisten pyhiinvaellukset keskiajalla (Helsinki: SKS, 2014), 181–95.

‘The Experience of Childhood Impairments in Later Medieval (c. 1200−1400) Canonisation Processes’, in Cordula Nolte (ed.) Phänomene der ‘Behinderung’ im Alltag: Bausteine zu einer Disability History der Vormoderne (Affalterbach: Didymos-Verlag, 2013), 237–57. 

‘Love and Duty in the Time of Family Crisis. Physical Disability and Marriage in Later Medieval (c. 1200–1500) Miracle Testimonies’, Mirator 14 (2), 2013, 111-32. 

Other scientific articles

Subchapters ‘Community and medicine’, ‘Smell, disability and the elusive abhorrence’, ‘Disabilities and healing miracles in the late Middle Ages’, ‘The disabilities of ‘common people’ in miracle narratives’ (with Klaus-Peter Horn), ‘Families and children’s disabilities in hagiographic sources’, ‘Gender, life-course and dis/ability’, ‘Hagiography and lay piety’ (with Klaus-Peter Horn), ‘Positive stigmatization’ and ‘Social status and supporting networks’, in A Handbook of Pre-Modern Dis/ability History, ed. Bianca Frohne, Cordula Nolte, Uta Halle & Sonja Kerth (Affalterbach: Didymos Verlag, 2017).

’In Search of Medieval Disability: Lectio praecursoria 16.2.2013’, J@rgonia 11, 2013 [https://jyx.jyu.fi/dspace/handle/123456789/41265].

’Miracles and the Disabled Body in the Later Middle Ages’, in Judith A. Rasson ja Katalin Szende (ed.), Annual of Medieval Studies at CEU, 20, 2014, 135-46.

’Bewegingshandicaps bij kinderen in middeleeuwse canonisatieverslagen’, Geschiedenis der Geneeskunde, 15, 2011, 90-102.