I am a historian of mobility, travel, archives, commemoration, and the Catholic Reformation. My research uses the case of the dispersed English and Dutch Catholic minorities as a means to reconsider the geographical, thematic, and chronological confines of scholarship on the European Catholic Church in the early modern period.

I have taught at the University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London, the University of Reading, Oxford Brookes, and the University of Oxford.

I am also actively involved in organising conferences and seminars, primarily related to record keeping or about early modern Catholic history. I currently am the book reviews editor for British Catholic History, the preeminent journal for the history of Catholicism in Britain and Ireland published with Cambridge University Press.


PhD     University of Cambridge, 2011-2015, supervised by Prof. Alexandra Walsham

MPhil  University of Cambridge, 2010-2011, supervised by Prof. Alexandra Walsham

MA      University of Leuven, 2009-2010, supervised by Prof. Johan Verberckmoes

BA       University of Leuven, 2006-2009

Other Publications


Confessional Mobility and English Catholics in Counter-Reformation Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).


Edited volumes    

Liesbeth Corens, Kate Peters, and Alexandra Walsham (eds), Archives and Information in Early Modern World (Oxford: British Academy Publications, 2018).

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


Book Chapters            

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



Seasonable Coexistence: Temporality, Health Care and Confessional Relations in Spa, c.1648–1740′, Past & Present (2022).

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.


Blog Posts


    Confessional Mobility

    I develop cross-border research in my first book, Confessional Mobility and English Catholics in Counter-Reformation Europe. This monograph questions the assumed territoriality of most studies of pre-modern Europe and straddles national boundaries in historiography. It proposes a new interpretative model of ‘confessional mobility’. Using the case of the English Catholic dispersed community, Confessional Mobility encourages scholarship on travel, migration, and exile to adopt a more flexible interpretation of movement and its implications for belonging to communities. Furthermore, my attention to movement and mission in the self-understanding of Catholics incorporates minority Catholics alongside extra-European missions and reinforces current moves to decentre Counter-Reformation scholarship. By bringing minority Catholics from the margins to the centre of our analysis, our broader understanding of the Counter-Reformation changes.




    My current project further develops the approach to Catholic minorities by comparing Dutch and English Catholics. I investigate these minorities’ communal belonging through a focus on the role of commemoration. Studying minorities adds a crucial qualifier to our understanding of the past. The monopolisation of archives and commemoration by a dominant group has flattened the record and created the impression that this one group is the standard. Moreover, comparing allows me to study commemoration not as an abstract ideal but concretely rooted in their social, cultural, and legal lives. The differences and similarities in commemoration between these two Catholic minorities shed light on the ways in which commemoration and the resulting narratives and sources were shaped by and in turn shaped the lives of Catholics. By consequence, the collections upon which historians rely to study the past were not an abstract reflection of their recent past, but historical practices which played an active part in constructing these communities.


    Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

    the Catholic Record Society
    the Ecclesiastical History Society
    the Renaissance Society of America
    the Sixteenth Century Society
    the Society for Renaissance Studies

    Liesbeth Corens

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