About Inger Leemans

inger website 012     Inger Leemans is Professor of Cultural History at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam & Director of the VU Graduate School of Humanities. She is an expert in the field of the history of pornography and the body, the (radical) Enlightenment and in the early modern (textual) culture. Her most recent book Worm en Donder: Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse Literatuur 1700–1800, co-written with Gert-Jan Johannes, has been reviewed as a masterpiece.

Currently, Inger Leemans is working on a cultural history of the stock trade, to research how the early modern public tried to relate to the ‘financial wizards’. She is also PI of a research group on “Affective Economies – Knowledge and the Market” for the international research project Creating a knowledge society in a globalizing world, 1450-1800.

In 2011, Leemans co-founded ACCESS, the Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies. This interdisciplinary platform researches expressions of the emotions and the operations of the senses, asking questions such as: did people in the early modern period feel the same emotions as we do now, and where did they feel them? How was violence staged in the Netherlands? Or: can we reconstruct the smells of the past (and what happens then)?

Inger Leemans coordinates and collaborates in several digital humanities projects: on Embodied Emotions (developing a model for emotion mining) (Nederlab – Netherlands eScience Center); on visualizing uncertainty (eScience) & on quality and perspectives in ‘deep data’ (AAA Data Science project). She also is active in the Digital Humanities Minor offered by VU and UvA and the Digital Humanities track of the Research Master Humanities (VU).

Current academic positions:

  • Professor of Cultural History at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Director of Graduate School of Humanities – VU University Amsterdam
  • Director of PhD and Research Master’s programmes VU Humanities
  • Member of Board of directors for the Huizinga Institute, Graduate School for Cultural History
  • Director ACCESS, the Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies
  • Member of steering group Amsterdam Centre for Digital Humanities 
  • Board National Research Council for Cultural Heritage (setting EU Research Agenda for Heritage Research/ JPI)
  • Board of Advisors Science Committee Huygens ING, KNAW research institute of History and Culture
  • Member board of Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis (History Journal)
  • Member board Thijssen-Schoute Stichting (Thijssen-Schoute Foundation for Intellectual and Scientific History)
  • Member board 18th century committee for the DBNL (Digital Library for Dutch Literature)


Personal Homepage at VU in Dutch

Personal Homepage at VU in English

Webpage about our VU Cultural & Religious History Research Team (in Dutch) (in English = coming up!)

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