Mansfield Prize 2023 – Tinne Claes and Yuliya Hilevych

Mansfield Prize 2023 – Tinne Claes and Yuliya Hilevych

The Mansfield Prize for the best article published in the Journal of Religious History for 2022 is awarded to:

Tinne Claes and Yuliya Hilevych for their article “Aiding Marital Childlessness: Christian Religious Responses to Husband and Donor Insemination in Belgium and Britain, 1940–1980” Journal of Religious History 46:3 (2022): 503-525

The judges were impressed by the sophistication of this study as a model of its kind, that shows how comparative study of responses, in this case of Belgium and Britain, can throw into question traditional assumptions about an important, but understudied issue. The authors show that marital childlessness provides a valuable touchstone for challenging assumptions about religion, social change, and reproductive technology. It carefully documents the diversity and evolution of religious teaching between 1940 and 1980 about a sensitive human and ethical issue, related to artificial insemination. The authors are to be congratulated for their carefully documented and well argued exploration of an issue that tends not to attract wide public attention.


Tinne Claes is a postdoctoral fellow of the Flanders Research Foundation at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Her research concerns the history of medicine, gender and sexuality in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Together with Kaat Wils and Joris Vandendriessche, she directs the research network ‘Medicine and Catholicism since the late 19th century’. As part of this broader international project, she studied Catholic responses to assisted reproduction, which turned out to be surprisingly divergent.



Dr Yuliya Hilevych an Assistant Professor at the Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Groningen. Previously, she was a British Academy Newton International Fellow in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge (2018-2019) and subsequently a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Lincoln in the UK (2020-2021). Yuliya’s expertise is in social and comparative history, with a special focus on the history of health, population and gender during the long 20th century in Eastern and Western Europe.

In Yuliya’s current book project, she assembles a social history of infertility. Taking Britain as a case study, she investigates the role of reproductive technologies and other medical treatments, as well as infertility counselling and activism in this postwar history of reproductive health.


Constant Mews, Chair, Mansfield Prize selection committee, March 2023.