Centre for the Social History of Health & HealthcareMeet our experts

Dr Patricia Barton

Honorary Research Fellow, History at the University of Strathclyde

Patricia's current research includes the misuse and illegal market in quinine supplies in British India; drug standardisation and the history of patent medicines in South Asia; the history of pharmacy in South Asia; the environmental impact of water technology, specifically in the spread of epidemic disease, in British India; public health policies for women and children in South Asia. She is currently completing Quacks and Adulterers: Colonial South Asia's Other Drug Problem.

Dr Peder Clark

Wellcome Trust Research Fellow

Peder is a cultural and social historian of drugs and health in modern Britain. A Wellcome Trust Fellowship supports his current research on ecstasy (MDMA) and the drug’s risks and pleasures in late twentieth century Britain. More broadly, he is interested in visual culture, class, gender, and everyday life. He received his PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2019, and is the co-author of Placing the Public in Public Health in Post-War Britain, 1948-2012 (Palgrave Macmillan).

Dr Alexander Dunst

Honorary Research Fellow

Alexander’s research focuses on US-American and transnational cultural history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His first book, which developed out of a PhD in Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham, was titled Madness in Cold War America (Routledge, 2016) and traced the changing understanding of psychiatric terminology across academic and popular debates, including in the radical psychiatry and mental patient liberation movements. A forthcoming monograph, The Rise of the Graphic Novel: Computational Criticism and the Evolution of Literary Value (Cambridge UP 2023), draws on digital and sociological methods to understand how contemporary literature reconfigures distinctions between popular and establishment culture. His most recent book project, tentatively titled „Decolonizing the Sixties: Global Countercultures and the Congress on the Dialectics of Liberation“ returns to the earlier interest in the public dissemination of psychiatry, while using computational mapping tools to rethink the intellectual currents of that era.

Dr Petya Eckler

Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Media and Communication at the University of Strathclyde

Petya’s work focuses on health communication and social media, often with a specific focus on body image and eating disorders. Petya works with health professionals, non-profit organisations, and young people on issues of safer use of social media relating to body image. She has published in international peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes and is the language editor of the European Journal of Health Communication.


Matthew Eisler

Strathclyde Chancellor's Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde

Matthew studies the relationship between energy and environmental politics and practices of contemporary science, technology, and engineering. He is particularly interested in the innovation dynamics of emerging fields of science-based industry including advanced materials, power sources, and energy conversion systems. He is working on a number of projects including his second book, a study of the industry and culture of electric automobile technology.

Catriona Ellis

Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde

Catriona’s main research interest is the global history of childhood and children and how changing concepts of age/generation intersect with other social identities, particularly caste, race, gender and disability. She is particularly interested in state and civil society interventions in the health of children in late colonial South Asia, including medical inspections and the introduction of nutritional supplements and free school meals. Her book Imaging childhood, improving children focuses on the expansion of welfare policies in the fields of education, juvenile justice and health in India in the 1920s and 1930s, and the impact of nationalism and constitutional change on this process. She is interested in ways of uncovering the agency and lived experience of children and has worked on autobiographies, court statements and the material culture of play


Erica Fudge

Professor of English Studies at the University of Strathclyde

Erica is the Director of the British Animal Studies Network, and her research focuses on human-animal relations particularly in the early modern period. She is interested in questions of care and of edibility and the links between the two, and her current work is looking human and animal fleshiness and at meat eating and meat avoidance in history.

Professor Bernard Harris

Professor of Social Policy, Department of Social Work and Social Policy, University of Strathclyde

Bernard's research is concerned with various aspects of the social history of health and welfare since circa 1700. He has worked on a wide range of topics within this field, including work on the history of height, morbidity and mortality; unemployment and poverty; the relationship between statutory and voluntary welfare provision; and the origins and development of the British welfare state. He is currently working on two externally-funded projects relating to the history of the UK National Health Service(s) and the history of mortality decline. The first project, ‘Border Crossings: charity and voluntarism in Britain’s mixed economy of health care’ is a Wellcome-Trust funded collaborative award which explores the role played by charity in the development of the National Health Service(s) in each of the UK’s constituent countries. This work is being undertaken with Rosemary Cresswell and is part of a multi-University partnership with colleagues from the Universities of Birmingham and Glasgow, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The second project is entitled ‘Water, sanitation and health in the first industrial society, 1780-1930’. It is financed by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and is being undertaken in partnership with colleagues at the University of Cambridge. As the title suggests, it explores the role played by improvements in sanitation and water supply in the decline of mortality in England, Scotland and Wales between the mid-eighteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

Dr Laura Kelly

Lecturer in the History of Health and Medicine at the University of Strathclyde

Laura Kelly is professor of modern Irish history at the University of Strathclyde. Her research focuses on the social history of medicine, gender history and oral history in modern Ireland. Her first two monographs explored the history of women in the medical profession in Ireland and the history of medical education and student culture respectively. Her most recent book, Contraception and Modern Ireland, a social history, c.1922-92 was published by Cambridge University Press in 2023 and emanated from a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship in Medical Humanities (2016-21). More recently, her work has explored the history of pro-choice and pro-life activism in Ireland from the 1970s to 1990s. This has been funded by the Carnegie Trust and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Dr Jordan Kistler

Lecturer in Victorian Studies at the University of Strathclyde

Jordan is a scholar of Victorian literature, specialising in the representation of science and medicine. She is interested in suicide in literature, particularly the way this literature constructs the relationship between women and their doctors and the relationship between the female body and the disordered mind. She has previous published on blindness and disability in Victorian poetry. Her first monograph, Arthur O'Shaughnessy, A Pre-Raphaelite Poet in the British Museum, was published in 2016 by the Routledge 'Among the Victorians and Modernists' series.

Dr Donna McCormack

Chancellor's Fellow

Donna McCormack is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Strathclyde. She has recently completed an AHRC Leadership Fellowship on Transplant Imaginaries. Her research interests include postcolonial and anticolonial theories, queer and crip theories, biotechnologies (specifically organ transplantation), and contemporary science and speculative fiction. Her first monograph is entitled Queer Postcolonial Narratives and the Ethics of Witnessing (Bloomsbury Press, 2014), and she has articles in various journals, including Body & Society, European Journal of Cultural Studies, Somatechnics and BMJ Medical Humanities, as well as in edited collections such as Bodily Exchanges, Bioethics and Border Crossing (Routledge, 2015). She has coedited special issues of Somatechnics, BMJ Medical Humanities and European Journal of Cultural Studies. She is the coordinator of the Nordic Network Gender, Body, Health, as well as a founding member of the Monster Network.

Professor Arthur McIvor

Professor of History, University of Strathclyde

Arthur's research interests are in the history of work and occupational health where he has played a significant role over the past two decades in applying an oral history methodology.  His work thus lies at the intersection of the sub-disciplines of labour and medical history.  He is currently working on three projects: the health impacts of deindustrialisation; the history of disability in British coalfield communities in the 20th century; and a history of occupational health during the Second World War.


Professor Jim Mills

Professor of Modern History, University of Strathclyde

Jim teaches and researches in two subject areas, the social history of drugs and narcotics and the social history of health and medicine in the British Empire.  He has previously published on psychiatric institutions and encounters in colonial India, and on the history of cannabis in Britain and its empire.  He is currently writing the history of cocaine consumption and control in Asia between 1900 and 1945.

Dr Emma Newlands

Lecturer in History at the University of Strathclyde

Emma is interested in military health and physical culture in the 20th century, particularly during the Second World War.  In particular, she is interested in ways in which modern states have prepared civilian men for military service through bodily regimes.  She has also conducted research into the medical and sicentific experiments that were carried out on military personnel during the Second World War.  Her first monograph, Civilians into Soldiers: War, the Body and the British Army Recruits, 1939-1945, was publised by Manchester University Press in 2013.  She was awarded a Chancellor's Fellowship from the University of Strathclyde in 2013 for a project on health and medicine in the post-war British Armed Forces.  She is currently working on a knowledge exchance project to deliver history of health and medicine material as part of the Curriculum for Excellence in Scottish schools.  This project, funded by the University of Strathclyde, brings together the CSHHH Glasgow, Learning Teaching Scotland, the Wellcome Trust Library, Glasgow Museums, the National Library of Scotland and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Dr Hannah Proctor

Wellcome Trust Research Fellow

Hannah's work explores theories of radical psychiatry, histories of Communist and anti-Communist approaches to the psy-disciplines, intersections between Marxism and psychoanalysis, and emotional histories of the left. She is currently a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow working on a cluster of British and American Cold War-era social science projects that attempted to define the 'Soviet mind'. She was previously a fellow at the ICI Berlin and completed her PhD at Birkbeck, University of London. Her monograph Psychologies in Revolution: Alexander Luria's 'Romantic Science' and Soviet Social History was published as part of the Palgrave Macmillan series 'Mental Health in Historical Perspective' in 2020. She is also working on a book for Verso tentatively titled Burnout: On the Psychological Toll of Political Struggle. She writes a regular column for the Culture section of Tribune magazine on politics and psychology, is a member of the editorial collective of Radical Philosophy, and is reviews/web/social media editor at History of the Human Sciences.

Dr Elsa Richardson

Co-Director of the CSHHH

Lecturer in the History of Medicine at the University of Strathclyde

Elsa's work examines the relation of heterodox practices, beliefs and movements to mainstream society and culture, with particular focus on the interaction between medicine and imagination, science and the supernatural.  Her forthcoming monograph examines the place of extraordinary visionary experience in the Victorian scientific imagination.  With the help of a Research Bursary from the Wellcome Trust, she is currently working on a project examining the nineteenth-century history of vegetarianism and the impact of meat-free philosophy on developiong medical understandings of nutrition and the stomach.  In addition to lecturing in the history of medicine at the University of Strathclyde, Elsa curates arts and science events for public institutions like the Wellcome Collection.

Ben H Shepherd

Reader in History at Glasgow Caledonian University

Ben has written extensively on German counterinsurgency during the Second World War and has co-edited two volumes on guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency across Axis-occupied Europe. His most recently single-authored book, Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich (Yale University Press, 2016) is a major, general work examining the army's military performance, relations with the Nazi regime, and involvement in occupation and war crimes. In addition to this core research area, Ben has supervised PhD theses on health and the military in Britain and Germany during the first half of the twentieth century.

Dr Fiona Skillen

Lecturer, Department of Business Management, Sport and Events at Glasgow Caledonian University

Fiona's research interests concern modern history in particular aspects of sport, gender, politics, social policy, health and changes in popular culture. She is particularly interested in the influence which dominant discourses concerning gender and modernity had on women's popular culture. Her PhD research focussed specifially on the ways in which these discourses impinged on and were negotiated by women who wished to participate in sport within the inter-war period. Her current research builds on this, focussing on women's participation in sport in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to this, she is also working on projects focusing on the sporting heritage of Glasgow and the history of Scotland's role in the Commonwealth Games.

Professor Matthew Smith

Professor of Health History at the University of Strathclyde

Matthew works on the history of psychiatry and mental health, food and nutrition and allergy and immunology.  His most recent book, The First Resort: The History of Social Psychiatry in the United States, was funded by an AHRC Early Career Fellowship.  His research has also been funded by the Wellcome Trust, resulting in books on the history of ADHD and food allergy.  One of his next projects, funded by a Royal Society of Edinburgh Small Research Grant, will explore the historical relationship between water and mental health.  With Prof Cathy Coleborne, he co-edits the Palgrave series, ‘Mental Health in Historical Perspective’, which has published 30 books since 2015.

Dr Angela Turner

Research Associate at the University of Strathclyde

Angela received her PhD from the University of Strathclyde in 2010 for work on the history of learning disability in Glasgow.  Since then, she has worked on a number of health related projects including a study of physical activity and learning disability for the Bailey Thomas Foundation at Glasgow Caledonian University and a project for Glasgow Life investigating experiences of volunteering and inclusion for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.  From 2011-2015, she was part of the UK wide research team working on a large Wellcome Trust funded collaborative project exploring the history of disability and industrialisation.  She was subsequently CI for a small pilot project exploring disability in Scotland during World War Two for the Hudson Trust.  Angela is currently an active member of teaching at the University of Strathclyde contributing to a wide range of classes and leading classes which focus on her research relating to disability history and to World War Two.

Dr Caroline Verdier

Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Strathclyde

Caroline is a specialist in French and Francophone Studies with expertise in 20th and 21st Century literature, Gender Studies and Medical Humanities. She has published extensively on a range of Francophone women authors, with an increasing focus on illness narratives and creative practices. She currently works on French-language abortion narratives and how they offer complex and nuanced perspectives.

She recently completed a Carnegie Trust funded project exploring the topic of Human papillomavirus (HPV) and the feelings of stigma and shame attached to it for women, capturing the experience of diagnosis and living with HPV through writing and art making.

Oonagh Walsh, Professor of Gender Studies

Professor Oonagh Walsh

Professor of Gender Studies at Glasgow Caledonian University

Oonagh's principle research interests lie in gender and medical histories, and in the 19th century history of Irish psychiatry in particular. She has published on a range of areas in modern Irish history including Protestant women's social, political and cultural experiences, the development of the asylum system in the west of Ireland, and 20th century obstetrics. She is currently finalising a report on symphysiotomy for the Department of Health (Ireland) and a monograph on the Irish asylum system in 10th century west of Ireland. She is at the early stages of two distinct research projects: the first relates to health and illness amongst Irish sailors in the Royal Navy, and the second is a study of possible epigenetic change as a result of the Great Famine.

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