Laura Sumrall


Historian
Early Modern European Medicine and Magic


I study the ways in which magical traditions shaped knowledge of the body and concepts of health and disease in early modern Europe. I specialize in Helmontian disease theory, but I research many topics related to medical philosophy and esotericism in the early modern world.

PhD • The University of Sydney • 2021

Areas of Expertise
History of Science | History of Medicine | Historical Epistemology
Iatrochemistry | Demonology | Natural Magic


Publications


PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLESFC | “Powers of Healing and Harming, According to Jan Baptista van Helmont.” Early Science and Medicine.2019 | “The Regurgitated Knife: Demonic Power and the Boundaries of Nature in Early Modern Medicine.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 49, no. 3: 589-607.

PEER-REVIEWED ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICLES2018 | “Occult Properties in the Renaissance.” In Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy, edited by Marco Sgarbi. Springer International Publishing.2018 | “Alchemical Medicine and Distillation.” Ibid.2017 | “Natural Magic in Renaissance Science.” Ibid.

BOOK REVIEWS2020 | Review of Making Magic in Elizabethan England: Two Early Modern Books of Magic, ed. by Frank Klaassen. Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural 9, no. 2: 332-336.

GENERAL AUDIENCE2019 | “Dealing with the Devil has Long been a Part of Medicine.” The Conversation. Available online

DISSERTATION2020 | A Strange Guest: The Demonological Framing of the Pathological in Helmontian Medicine. PhD Thesis. The University of Sydney. Available online

Teaching


UNIVERSITY OF WOLLONGONG:
SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL INQUIRY
Changing Concepts of Nature
2023-2024 | Course Coordinator, Lecturer, Tutor
Introductory undergraduate course on the history of natural philosophy and the foundations of science, from antiquity to modernity
Environment, Technology and Culture
2023 | Tutor
Introductory undergraduate course centering case studies to explore how technology shapes and is shaped by societies and environments
How Science Works: Theories, Methods and Practices in the Sciences
2023 | Tutor
Intermediate undergraduate course on the sociology of science

THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY:
SCHOOL OF HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
What is this Thing Called Science?
2023 | Tutor
Introductory undergraduate course in philosophy of science.
History and Philosophy of the Biomedical Sciences
2021-2022 | Lecturer, Tutor
Advanced undergraduate course on the historical foundations of and philosophical issues in contemporary biomedical sciences, with particular emphasis on microbiology and genetics.
Bioethics
2021 | Lecturer, Tutor
Introductory undergraduate course on theoretical frameworks and practical challenges in contemporary bioethics.
The Birth of Modern Science
2014-2021 | Course Coordinator, Lecturer, Tutor
Introductory undergraduate course in the history of science from antiquity to early modernity
The Scientific Revolution
2014-2020 | Course Coordinator, Lecturer, Tutor
Advanced undergraduate course in early modern science and its historiography

BARD COLLEGE BERLIN“Van Helmont: Natural Magic and Early Modern Medicine”
2019 | Guest Lecturer
Undergraduate lecture delivered as part of the Early Modern Science Core Course

THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY:
WIDENING PARTICIPATION AND OUTREACH (WPO)
Critical Thinking Workshop
2018 | Instructor
Introductory workshop in logic for senior-level secondary school students

Contact


Dr. Laura Sumrall
School of Humanities and Social Inquiry
The University of Wollongong
Wollongong, NSW 2522
Australia

laura.as@protonmail.com