Whitney Dirks


Visiting Assistant Professor in History

Whitney Dirks specializes in early modern English social and medical history with an emphasis on bodies and unusual anatomies, and her first book, Monstrous Bodies and Knowledge Transfer in Early Modern England (Amsterdam University Press) is out for review. The book revolves around a unique legal case involving the alleged kidnapping of a pair of neonatal conjoined twins born in 1680, which is contextualized in terms of broader cultural beliefs about monstrosity between 1450 and 1800. Her most recent article, "'Weighty Celebrity': Corpulency, Monstrosity, and Freakery in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century England," was published in Disability Studies Quarterly (https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/6602/5410). Future projects will examine the centuries-long urban legend of a pig-faced woman residing in London and the popular versus medical understandings of intersex in early modern England.


PhD 2013 The Ohio State University, MPhil 2007 University of Cambridge, BA 2005 Beloit College

Areas of Expertise

early modern England, bodies, and monsters

Courses Taught

HIS-103 (World History to 1500) and HIS-344 (History of London)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HIS-110 Europe 1000-1648 4 2021/SP and 2019/FA
HIS-103 World History to 1500 4 2020/FA and 2020/SP
HIS-221 The Reformation 3 2021/SP and 2019/FA
HIS-244 ST:History of Intersex 1 2020/FA
HIS-344 ST:Scientific Revolution 1 2020/SP
HIS-207 Early Modern Crafts 1 2020/JN