Jennifer Baker

Research Interests:

  • My doctoral research focuses on how popular English understandings of contraception and the spread of knowledge influenced social controls over women pertaining to reproductive strategies between 1525 and 1640. Using a variety of sources from the period, I am investigating how women understood their bodies and how women’s interventions in bodily function were understood as sanctioned and legitimate healthcare. Working at the intersection of medicine, religion, and the social and legal institutions that sought to control women’s actions and behaviour, I hope to deepen our understanding of how sixteenth-century communities understood and addressed issues of contraception beyond the prescriptive writing at a localized level. 

    My wider research interests include 16th- and 17th-century religious, cultural, and gender history in England and Western Europe, pre-literate and semi-literate knowledge transmission, and gendered violence. I use narratives and microhistories to examine the voice and agency of individuals. 

    I came to Western University in 2022 for my PhD in History. Before that, I completed my Master of Arts in History at the University of Waterloo. 

    My doctoral research is supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.