Jolien Gijbels, PHD

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow

Jolien Gijbels is a Fulbright and BAEF visiting scholar at the Department of the History of Medicine. Her research interests include the history of women’s health, surgery, medical ethics, and scientific publishing. Her postdoctoral research project focuses on the history of (informed) consent and gynaecological surgery in the twentieth century. She examines the agency of patients, their family members and other actors involved in negotiations over radical operations. She is particularly interested in the ways in which physicians obtained their consent and in what information on surgical risks was exchanged during such negotiations.

Jolien’s current book project is based on her 2021 doctoral dissertation, which was entitled “The Perils of Birth: Obstetrics, Religion and Medical Ethics in Belgium (ca. 1830-1914)”. The dissertation examines the relationship between medicine and religion in nineteenth-century Belgium through a focus on obstetric surgery. It offers a new account of how religion played a role in the development of medical debates about labor complications and in the management of difficult births. Some results of her PhD research have been published in, among other journals, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Journal of Religious History and Annales de Démographie Historique.