Seit Juni 2021 Universität Bern Assoziierter Forscher (Abteilung für Mittelalterliche Geschichte)
Seit Jan. 2021 Universität Groningen, Doktorand (Abteilung für Mittelalterliche Geschichte)
Seit Sept. 2019 Universität Groningen, Aletta Fellow (Aletta Jacobs School for Public Health)
Jan. 2020 – Dez. 2020 Universität Bern, Doktorand (Abteilung für Mittelalterliche Geschichte)
Jan. 2019 – März 2020 Universität Groningen, Assistent-Lehrbeauftragter (Abteilung für der Forschung des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit)
Mai 2019 – Jan. 2020 Tresoar Leeuwarden, Forschungsassistent (Projekt Geleefde Vroomheid in de Friese Landen tot de Reformatie)
Sept. 2018 – Dez. 2018 Könichliches Höllandisches Institut in Rom, Gastwissenschaftler
Sept. 2016 – Aug. 2018 Universität Groningen, Research Master ‘Classical, Medieval and Early Modern Studies’
Cum Laude
Sept. 2017 – Febr. 2018 Universität Gent, Master Geschichte
Febr. 2017 – Nov. 2017 Universität Groningen, Forschungsassistent (Projekt Histories of Healthy Ageing)
Sept. 2013 – Juli 2016 Universität Groningen, Bachelor Geschichte
Cum Laude
  • Medialitätsgeschichte des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit
  • Wissensformationen und Vermittlung der europäischen Kampfkünste
  • Interdisziplinäre Geschichte des Körpers und des Körperwissens

Easier Done than Said: Uncovering the Body in Knowledge Management in Italy and Germany, 1400-1550


This project will explore how prescriptive texts for physical exercises, produced in Northern Italy and Southern Germany between 1400 and 1550, were designed as manuals for experiments that recognised the body’s ability to internalise knowledge through experience. In doing so, it starts from the hypothesis that the techniques they describe were intended to be read in tandem with attempted practice, and therefore contain references to living traditions of knowledge transmission that have otherwise disappeared.

The project responds to New Materialist calls for the rehabilitation of the body’s agency in the production of technical or ‘embodied’ knowledge, with the skills required for sports being a prime example. This is a type of knowledge which cannot be conveyed through text alone and instead comes into being via the physical performance of techniques. Such a performance, if systematically repeated, leads to the internalisation of skills through what we today recognise as ‘muscle memory’. From this point of departure, the project contests the common interpretation of late medieval and early modern manuals for physical exercises as normative discourses that were imposed on the passive body. Instead, it argues that the authors of these manuals recognised the body’s ability to internalise knowledge through systematic practice. Their works should therefore be read as guidelines for experimentation where the body’s experiences play a vital role.

For its methodology, the project turns to the experimental history advocated by Pamela Smith (2016). This is an upcoming field which makes use of experimental reconstructions as a close-reading method for better understanding the contents and intended purpose of didactic literature. By drawing on my background in Historical European Martial Arts, I will compare the textual contents of prescriptive texts for physical exercises with the experience of performing the techniques they describe. This will show how their authors envisioned the relationship between their texts and the experiments they ought to inspire, and where the body itself served as an instrument for internalising knowledge.


Prof. Dr. C.G. Santing (Thesis Director, University of Groningen)

Prof. Dr. R. Schmid Keeling (Second Promotor, University of Bern)

Dr. A. van Steensel (Co-Promotor, University of Groningen)