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Dr Liesbeth Corens

CMRS Career Development Fellow in Renaissance History


I’m a Career Development Fellow in Renaissance History at Keble College, where I arrived after a research fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge. My work focuses on minority Catholicism as an insightful case study to analyse the Counter-Reformation. My first book assesses early modern lay English Catholic expatriate experiences in terms of a broad concept of ‘confessional mobility’ (forthcoming with OUP).  It encourages a more flexible interpretation of movement and its implications for belonging to communities. By shifting the perspective from stasis to dynamic mobility, Confessional Mobility shows how English Catholics fostered a community without borders which bridged the Channel.

My next project is about commemoration and record-keeping, through the prism of the ‘counter-archives’ which Catholics minorities (both English and Dutch) started to create in the later seventeenth century.The archives and collections which resulted from this commemoration are not solely a reflection of community, but also played an active part in constructing those communities. Therefore, rather than understanding the collections as unproblematic repositories, I acknowledge them as practices and processes. I explore how and why the compilations were put together, what selection has been made, and what the ordering of the material has done to its interpretations.

Research Interests


My first book, Confessional Mobility and English Catholics in Counter-Reformation Europe, is under contract with Oxford University Press. You can read a summary here.


Dislocation and Record Keeping: The Counter Archives of the Catholic Diaspora’, in: Alexandra Walsham, Kate Peters, and Liesbeth Corens (eds.), The Social History of the Archive: Record Keeping in Early Modern Europe, Past & Present Supplement 11 (Oxford, 2016), 269-287.

Saints Beyond Borders: Relics and the Expatriate English Catholic Community’, in: Jesse Spohnholz and Gary Waite (eds.), Exile and Religious Identity, 1500-1800 (London, 2014), 25-38.

Sermons, Sodalities, and Saints: the Role of Religious Houses for the English Expatriate Community’, Trajecta 21 (2012), 118-136.

Catholic Nuns and English Identities: English Protestant Travellers on the English Convents in the Low Countries, 1660-1730’, Recusant History 30 (2011), 441-459.



with Alexandra Walsham and Kate Peters, Archives and Information in the Early Modern World (Oxford: British Academy Publications, forthcoming [2017]).

with Alexandra Walsham and Kate Peters, The Social History of the Archive: Record Keeping in Early Modern Europe, Past & Present Supplement 11 (Oxford, 2016).

College Contact Details

Dr Liesbeth Corens
Keble College
Telephone: 01865 272727
Fax: 01865 272705