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Dr Rebecca Fallas

Profile summary

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Professional biography

I have recently completed my PhD in Classical Studies with the Open University under the supervision of Professor Helen King and Dr. James Robson. My thesis was titled ‘Infertility, blame and responsibility in the Hippocratic Corpus’ and explored the causes and treatments of infertility in ancient Greece with a particular focus on the Hippocratic Corpus and the biological works of Aristotle.

My research also touches on the social responses to infertility including which partner in the couple was held responsible for a non-reproductive marriage and the use of oracles and healing sanctuaries by couples wishing to conceive.

Prior to my PhD I studied for a BA in Archaeology and Ancient History and an MA in Classics at the University of Reading and an MA in Museum Studies at the University of Southampton.

Research interests

  • Ancient medicine
  • Ancient gynaecology
  • History of medicine
  • Infertility, fertility and menopause in the ancient world
  • Medical terminology in ancient Greek and Latin
  • The history and use of medical museums

Selected conference and seminar papers:

A big problem? Fat, obesity and infertility in the Hippocratic corpus, Department of Classical Studies Research Work in Progress Day, Open University, Milton Keynes, May 2015

No fault infertility? The relationship between Infertility and Blame in the Ancient Medical Texts, Infertility in History, Science and Culture, Edinburgh, July 2013

The Look of fertility in ancient Greece: Using physical characteristics to determine fertility in the Hippocratic Corpus, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, May 2013

Promoting Fertility: Regimes for Fertility in the Ancient Medical Texts, The Classical Body An Open University Research Seminar Day, London, February 2013

The Use of Physical Appearance to Determine Fertility in the Hippocratic Corpus, Annual Meeting of Postgraduate in Ancient Literature, Oxford, September 2012

Public engagement:

I am currently a volunteer blogger for Leeds City Museums’ Secret Lives of Objects Blog exploring a range of objects and exhibitions from the History of Medicine and Classics to Cluedo and the 1966 World Cup.

Teaching interests

For the past year I have been part of a PhD teaching scheme run by the Classical Studies department. This has involved shadowing a tutor from Part 2 of the MA in Classical Studies (A864) and contributing to online tutorials and the module forum.

For the past three years I have delivered a lectures and seminars as part of a History of Medicine module at Leeds Medical School on Hippocratic medicine and the Hippocratic Oath.