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Biography

Dr Walker-Meikle’s research interests focus on the relationship between animals and humans, particularly in medicine and natural history. She received her PhD from University College London, and published Medieval Pets (Boydell & Brewer, 2012), the first social and cultural study of companion animals in the late medieval period. Kathleen received a Wellcome Trust fellowship grant to examine animal bites and toxicology in the late medieval period. Kathleen has a strong interest in palaeography, manuscript studies, and digital humanities, and has worked on the Antidotarium magnum with Professor Monica Green (Arizona State University), with the Consortium of European Research Libraries on archival digital infrastructures and at University College Cork on Irish humanism and palaeography. She was recently a research fellow at UCL on the Inner Lives project, examining late medieval cosmology, magic, astrology, and emotions. On the Renaissance Skin project she will be focusing on animal skin and diseases afflicting the skin.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Late medieval and early modern animal history
  • Late medieval and early modern history of medicine, in particular, pharmacology and toxicology
  • Late medieval and early modern science, in particular, natural history
  • Medieval natural magic
  • Palaeography and digital editions of texts

Within the Renaissance Skin project, Dr Walker-Meikle is examining ideas and descriptions of animal skin, in particular fur, feathers, and horns. She will also address the damage caused to animal and human skin from diseases such as smallpox, syphilis, leprosy, and lupus.

Teaching

Dr Walker-Meikle lectures on palaeography, medieval and early modern medical history and the history of science.

Expertise and public engagement

Dr Walker-Meikle’s research has featured in a variety of popular publications. She has written popular history books: Medieval Cats (2011), Medieval Dogs (2013), The Dog Book: Dogs of Historical Distinction (2014), The Cat Book: Cats of Historical Distinction (2015) and The Horse Book: Horses of Historical Distinction (2017). Articles profiling her research have appeared in BBC History MagazineCrufts the Magazine and Practical Reptile Keeping. She has also written blog posts for the British Library Manuscripts blog, the Recipes Project blog, and the Inner Lives Project blog.

Selected publications

  • Medieval Pets, Boydell and Brewer (2012)
  • ‘Animal Venoms’ in Philip Wexler, ed., A History of Toxicology in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Elsevier (2017)
  • ‘Diagnosis of a ‘Plague’ Image: A Digital Cautionary Tale’, co-author with Monica Green and Wolfgang P. Müller, The Medieval Globe (2014), pp. 309-326
  • ‘Toxicology and Treatment: Medical authorities and snake-bite in the Middle Ages’, Korot: The Israel Journal of the History of Medicine and Science, (2014), pp. 85-104