UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


MacLehose, William

Dr William MacLehose, photo by Chris Clunn

Lecturer in History of Science and Medicine

office: 1.2a in 22 Gordon Square

tel: 0207 679 2929 (x3-2929)

Dr William MacLehose works on the connections between medical,
natural philosophical, and religious thought in western Europe during the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. His research emphasises the transformations
within medical knowledge as the medieval west rediscovered the
Hippocratic-Galenic traditions via the Arabic world. His primary interest lies
in the importance of childhood as a source of interest and concern within
medieval society, as reflected in the fields of embryology, obstetrics, and
pediatrics. He is the author of A Tender Age: Cultural Anxieties over the
Child in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries
(Columbia University Press,
2008) (link)

> recent publications (UCL database | pubs page)


  1. HPSC3029 History of Medicine
  2. HPSC3049 HPSC3049 Sleep and Dreaming
  3. HPSCGA20 Science, Technology, and Medicine across Medieval Worlds

Administrative duties for 2017-18

  • STS PGT programme tutor


The Sleep of Reason: Meanings of Sleep in Medieval Science and Medicine

My current project is a cultural-intellectual history of sleep in the middle ages. Based on twelfth- and thirteenth-century sources, the project identifies sleep as a topic which uniquely allowed medieval writers to explore the relations between mind and body, interior and exterior, and the limits of rationality. I focus on the medical and natural philosophical materials, and the discussions of normative and pathological sleep, including disease categories such as sleep terrors/paralysis (the incubus), insomnia, nocturnal emissions, and sleepwalking.

Two essays based on this research have appeared to date:

'Fear, Fantasy and Sleep in Medieval Medicine.' In: Carrera, E, (ed.) Emotions and Health, 1200-1700. Brill, 2013, pp. 67-94.

‘Sleepwalking, Violence and Desire in the Middle Ages.’ Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 37 (2013), 601-24.

Dr William Maclehose

Dr William Maclehose



22 Gordon Square


  • Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science
    Dept of Science & Technology Studies
    Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL


Award year Qualification Institution
2000 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Johns Hopkins University
1994 MA
Master of Arts
Johns Hopkins University
1989 BA
Bachelor of Arts
Medieval Studies
Vassar College, NY