Mrs Genevieve E. Caulfield

Contact details

Mrs Genevieve E. Caulfield
MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine at the University of Cambridge
Position/Fellowship type:
Thornley Fellow
Institute of Historical Research
Home institution:
University College London
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Summary of research interests and expertise:

Genevieve is a final year PhD candidate at University College London. Her main research interests are integrated approaches to the history and philosophy of science; intellectual history; and the history of religion and belief. Her doctoral thesis is titled ‘Can we believe our own eyes? Optics, vision and cognition in late medieval religion’, supervised by Professor John Sabapathy (UCL) and Professor Sophie Page (UCL).

Genevieve’s doctoral thesis examines the centrality of visual credibility in late medieval Christendom (c. 1200—c. 1450). Her PhD project analyses how scholars of optical theories thought about trust in relation to sight and explores how different groups understood the trustworthiness of sight per se to be an issue in various debates in which Christian truth claims were at stake. From distinguishing between divine and demonic visual experiences among the laity to the complicated theological debate about the timing of the blessed soul’s posthumous sight of God, a concern with the quality of sight in religious contexts cut across European society. Genevieve’s thesis argues that religious concerns drove innovations in optical theory as well as that optics altered the terms of religious debates.

Prior to beginning her PhD at UCL, Genevieve completed an MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine at the University of Cambridge. In Autumn 2022, she completed a doctoral research internship at l’École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris.

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