Meg Leja

Assistant Professor, Binghamton University

I am currently in my sixth year of the Ph.D. program at Princeton. Chronologically, my interests span the period from the late Roman Empire to the High Middle Ages, but my area of specialization is the Carolingian Empire. Thematically, my studies include the history of medicine and the body from the pre-modern period through to the nineteenth century.

Research Interests

The title of my dissertation is "Dissecting the Inner Life: Body and Soul, Medicine and Metaphor in the Carolingian Era." This project examines views of the body in a variety of Carolingian sources produced in locations across the realm during the middle decades of the ninth century. One genre that features prominently in my study is the medical treatise; such treatises are found in numerous extant Carolingian manuscripts and yet are rarely mentioned in current historiography. Alongside a close analysis of several of these manuscripts, I consider advice manuals for lay nobles, hagiography, exegesis, and epistles. My interests include the relationship between the body and soul, the conceptualization of sickness and health, the legitimacy of medicine and the role of physicians, and the techniques promoted for governing the body. From the physical body, I then shift my investigation to bodily metaphors in political discourse.

My previous research has concentrated on the Carolingian lay elite and ideals of gender in the early medieval world. On this theme, I have published an article concerning lay masculinity during the civil wars under Louis the Pious's sons.


I received a Master’s degree in History from Princeton in June 2011. My General Examinations included a major field in the History of the Late Antique and Early Medieval World (with Helmut Reimitz) and minor fields in the High Middle Ages (with William Chester Jordan) and the History of Medicine and the Body (with Katja Guenther). Prior to coming to Princeton, I completed an undergraduate degree in Honours History and Medieval Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Dissertation Title:

"Dissecting the Inner Life: Body and Soul, Medicine and Metaphor in the Carolingian Era"

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