The winner of the ASH Dissertation Award 2018-2019 is Janna Coomans (Medieval History) for her PhD dissertation 'In Pursuit of a Healthy City: Sanitation and the Common Good in the Late Medieval Low Counties', announced during the ASH end of term event and awards ceremony on 14 June 2019.
Janna Coomans has been awarded the ASH Dissertation Award 2018-2019 for her PhD dissertation In Pursuit of a Healthy City: Sanitation and the Common Good in the Late Medieval Low Counties which she carried out from 2013 until 2018 under the supervision of prof. dr. Guy Geltner. A summary of her dissertation is available here.
Janna’s work was singled out for the depth of its research into hard-to-find evidence, its methodological complexity, its intellectual creativity, and its originality within her field. Her beautifully-written dissertation fills a gap within medieval studies, urban history, and health history, evaluating how a range of institutions and individuals worked hard to make their cities safer and cleaner through physically building, tending to, and monitoring their environment. She problematizes linear notions of ‘progress’ to arrive at how urban biopower was negotiated, and she was highly commended for the manner in which she has deployed approaches from anthropology, social and cultural theory, gender and environmental studies, and literary criticism.
Janna has been a postdoctoral researcher at the UvA since September 2018, and is one of the researchers working on the project Premodern Healthscaping led by Guy Geltner.