I am a historian of health, punishment, cities the urban countryside at the University of Amsterdam, often drawing for my research and teaching on documents from Italian archives in the period 1200-1500. I was educated at the Hebrew University, The University of Wisconsin at Madison, Princeton University (PhD, 2006), and The University of Oxford; held year-long fellowships at Harvard University's Villa I Tatti and Stanford University's Humanities Center; and visiting professorships at Monash University and Birkbeck College. My articles, monographs and edited volumes have appeared (or are scheduled to do so) in English, Italian, Dutch, French, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic, and contain work that has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, Hanadiv Foundation, the Netherlands Scientific Organization and the European Research Council. I am founding editor of the Amsterdam University Press series Studies in Premodern Crime and Punishment and serve on the expert panels of the Flemish Research Council (FWO) and the Independent Research Fund, Denmark (IRFD).
My main team-project at present concerns premodern healthscaping. It traces preventative health theories and practices among several types of populations rarely celebrated for their hygienic vigilance, including medieval European cities, pilgrims, monasteries, and armies. Working within the medical and natural-philosophical paradigms of their era, these groups fought to prevent and reduce all sorts of pollution, as numerous documents and instruments of practice attest. Their present-day reputation, in other words, says more about what Euro-American culture seeks to locate outside its boundaries than social realities in the deeper past.
I advocate the free exchange of ideas, based on curiosity, knowledge and insight, and seek to reduce to a minimum any obstacles that stand in its way. This means openly sharing research, on the one hand, and actively involving students in the process of learning and evaluation, on the other. Most recently, I helped found ScholarlyHub and BodoArXiv.