Dr Marie-Louise Leonard

Dr Marie-Louise Leonard


I studied at the University of Glasgow were I completed an MA Honours degree in English Literature and History, an MLitt in History and a PhD. I joined the School of History in Leeds in September 2018.



Research interests

I am a social and cultural historian of early modern Italy, specialising in the history of public health. My PhD was a study of public health developments in response to plague epidemics in Mantua in northern Italy. I examined the practical and symbolic strategies employed by Mantuan health officials to control the disease, such as quarantine procedures and processions, and found that discussions and consultations with religious groups and the wider community were vitally important in developing and applying counter plague measures. My current research explores ill-health in the context of work in early modern Italy. I am interested in what happened to early modern workers when they became ill or were unable to work. Using the correspondence of officials working for the Mantuan state, I am investigating how ill-health was discussed when it affected working life. This research will form the basis of an article ‘Sick Notes: Work and Ill-health in Sixteenth Century Mantua.’ My next objective is to examine working practices from an occupational health perspective using medical texts, regulations produced by health boards and regulations created by employers, such as guilds, to provide new perspectives on the experience of illness and the practicalities of working life in early modern society.





<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in History
  • MLitt in History with distinction
  • MA Hons in English Literature and History