Dr Holly Fletcher

Research Associate

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I am a cultural historian of the early modern period with a particular interest in the history of the body and its interactions with the material world. As of October 2021, I am a Research Associate on the Wellcome Trust funded project 'Sleeping Well in the Early Modern World: An Environmental Approach to the History of Sleep Care' at the University of Manchester. This project analyses sleep habits as historically situated environmental practices, uncovering an environmentally informed culture of 'sleep care' in Britain, Ireland and early America c. 1500-1750. Within the project, my research focuses on the material strategies deployed by early modern people to create healthy sleep environments in response to differing climatological, meteorological and topographical factors.

Prior to joining Manchester, I taught early modern history at the University of Sussex. I hold a BA, MPhil and PhD from the University of Cambridge. My doctoral research examined the cultural significance of bodyweight in early modern Germany and I am currently revising this work for publication as a monograph. As the first book-length study of bodyweight in early modernity, this project uncovers how ‘fatness’ and ‘thinness’ were understood in this period as well as the role of bodily form in shaping early modern experiences of the world. 

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