Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare Meet 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.

Stuart Bradwel

Stuart completed his PhD on the history of approaches to insulin therapy in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus at CSHHH in 2020. Prior to this, he completed he studied at the University of St Andrews and the University of Glasgow, and spent six months as a Wellcome Trust Secondment Fellow at London’s Science Museum.

He is particularly interested in the ideological context of health and medicine, and its implications for the management of chronic conditions. He is currently working on several publications based on his doctoral research.

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 Louise Creechan

Former Research Associate on the Medical Humanities in China and the UK project

Louise specialises in Victorian literature and not reading it. Specifically, she works on the representation of illiteracy and how literacy became established as an intellectual standard over the course of the nineteenth century. Her research focuses on depictions of low-level and atypical literacies and considers how reading difficulty came be deemed abnormal by the end of the century, leading to the first diagnoses of a condition similar to our contemporary understanding of dyslexia. Beyond illiteracy, she is particularly interested in the literary representation of conditions that straddle the very borderline between disability and normalcy to interrogate the parameters of medical humanities as a field. As a neurodivergent academic and dyslexia advocate, she is invested in exploring alternative research methodologies and accessible modes of dissemination. 

Dr Fabiola Creed

Former Research Associate on the Medical Humanities in China and the UK project

Fabiola is a historian of tanning culture in twentieth-century Britain. Her research on the tanning industry builds on the histories of commercial businesses, the mass media, and medical experts, and how these stakeholders can influence the representations of 'consumed' technologies and products.

In 2020, Fabiola completed her medical humanities PhD at the University of Warwick. Her thesis applied intersectional, (audio-)visual and material culture approaches to expose the changing representations of the sunbed industry and its consumers. A history of sunbeds also provided a cultural lens to study key political, economic, medical, and social-cultural transformations in public life from the 1970s to 1990s in England. During her MHCUK fellowship, she produced a monograph based on this research. Fabiola will then extend her study on sunbeds by developing a new project on anti-sunbed campaigns and substitute tanning technologies, which emerged during the 'global war on skin cancer’.

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

Lecturer in Journalism and Creative Writing at the University of Strathclyde

Petya's area of research is health communication through social media.  Her latest study with colleagues in the United States is on Facebook use and body image.  She has also examined health-related peer-to-peer communication through online platforms and how it influences health attitudes and outcomes and how hospitals in the US use social media to communicate with their patients.  She has also conducted research in international communication and advertising.

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 specialises in the history of children and childhood in late colonial India and is particularly interested in state and civil society interventions in the health of children, including medical inspections and the introduction of nutritional supplements and free school meals.  She graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2017 and her doctorate considers the history of children and childhood in the Madras Presidency during the 1920s and 1930s.  She is interested in the expansion of welfare policies in the fields of education, juvenile justice and health, and the impact of dyarchy and constitutional change on this process.  In addition, 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. Her publications to date focuse on autobiographies and the history of education in India.

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 and contemporary periods. She is interested in questions of care and of edibility and the links between the two, and current work is looking at meat eating and meat avoidance in history, and at the nature and meaning of human fleshiness in the seventeenth century.

Dr Janet Greenlees

Co-Director, Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare

Senior Lecturer, Social Science, Media and Journalism (History) at Glasgow Caledonian University 

Janet's research interests range across 19th and 20th century American and British history. Recent research has examined occupational and environmental health, women's health, public health, district nursing and women and work. In December 2016 she received a Wellcome Trust Seed Award for a project ‘Failing Babies: Poverty, Maternity and Healthcare in the Twentieth Century.’  This project follows from a recently finished monograph When the Air Became Important: A Social History of the Working Environment in New England and Lancashire, c.1870-c1970 (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming 2018). Previous publications include Female Labour Power: Women Workers’ Influence on Business Practices in the British and American Cotton Industries, c. 1790-1860 (Ashgate, 2007), an edited collection with Linda Bryder, Western Maternity and Medicine, 1880-1990 (Pickering and Chatto, 2013) and numerous articles and a report on Scottish Mother and Baby Homes for the Irish Government.  She is also working with Dr Gillian Murray and the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health evidencing social enterprise as a public health and well-being intervention. Janet's research has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), The Queen's Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) and other charities. 

Professor Bernard Harris

Head of School, School of Social Work and Social Policy at the 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.

Dr Chi Chi Huang

Former Research Associate on the Medical Humanities in China and the UK project

Chi Chi is an historian of the British Empire, visual cultures, and internationalism. Her research interests lie in the intersection of transnational and imperial histories, with a focus on Southeast Asia and China. She takes a cultural approach, making use of material and visual cultures, to understand the changing political, economic, and social environments.

Shi is currently working on two projects. The first stems from her PhD research to produce a monograph about British metropolitan perceptions of Hong Kong in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries exploring the ways in which smaller colonies were made to matter at home. Her new research project considers the cultural histories of typhoons in southern China and Southeast Asia. This history is used to examine notions of public health in connection to climates, the colonial narrativization of ‘indigenous’ knowledge, and the limits of scientific knowledge.

Sept 2017

Dr Laura Kelly

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

Laura's main field of research is the social history of medicine in nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland and she is particularly interested in gender and medicine.  Her work to date has largely focused on women in the medical profession, medical education and student culture in Ireland.  Her first monograph Irish women in medicine, c.1880s-1920s: origins, education and careers was publised by Manchester University Press in 2012 (paperback, 2015).  Her second monograph, Irish medical education and student culture, c.1850-1950 will be published by Liverpool University Press in 2017.  Most recently, she has become interested in the Irish experience of birth control, which is the theme of her current research project, 'Contraception and Modern Ireland, c1922-92', which is funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship (2016-19).  In 2016/17, Laura will be a visiting scholar at the Section of the History of Medicine at Yale.

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 Wankun Li

Former Research Associate on the Medical Humanities in China and the UK project

Wankun studies Modern Chinese history. Her PhD thesis is on the grain policies in rural China from the Second World War to the early PRC, and it aims to discuss the Great Leap Forward famine in the longue durée. Her new project is about the public health and pain relief therapies in the Mao’s era. Her other research interests include the land reform, China-US-UK trade and gender studies.

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 Elaine McFarland

Glasgow Caledonian University

Elaine's research interests span military history and modern Scottish history. Recent research supervision topics include: veterinary medicine in the Boer War; wounded veterans in inter-war Scotland; and the history of the Scottish pig.

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.


Kirsty Menzies

Wellcome Trust funded Project Archivist at Glasgow Caledonian University

Kirsty is currently working on a Wellcome Trust Funded project ‘Poverty, Health, Diet and Education in Glasgow: from Domestic Science to the Allied Health Professions, 1875-1993', to catalogue the records of the Glasgow School of Cookery (1875-1908), West End School of Cookery (1878-1908) and the Queen’s College, Glasgow (formerly the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science) (1908-1993). As well as evidencing the history of one strand of the origins of Glasgow Caledonian University, the records also document public health issues and the role education has played in tackling these.  Previously Kirsty has worked in the archives at the University of Glasgow, the Ballast Trust and HarperCollins Publishers.

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 Kay Nias

Research Associate on the Medical Humanities in China and UK project

Kay is currently working at the Science Museum London as a Medicine Galleries Research Fellow. Before this she did her PhD and MA in Medical History at the University of Exeter and a BA in History at King’s College London. Her research focusses on the history, professionalisation and material culture of physiotherapy in Britain. 

Dr Jesse Olszynko-Gryn

Lecturer in History at the University of Strathclyde

Jesse is a historian of science, technology and medicine, especially of twentieth-century Britain. As co-lead on a UK-German collaborative research project, he is working closely with patient groups to investigate the contested use and regulation of drugs in pregnancy and the risk of birth defects after thalidomide. His first book will reconstruct the remarkable transformation of pregnancy testing from an esoteric laboratory tool to a commonplace of everyday life. And he has a longstanding research interest in the history of health activism and of medical film. He recently developed a new interest in the history of face masks as embattled health technologies.

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.

Dr Lucas Richert

Lecturer in History at the University of Strathclyde

Much of Lucas' research has focused on the social, scientific and medical history of the United States and Canada during the 19th and 20th centuries.  In 2014, he published a monograph called Conservatism, Consumer Choice, and the FDA during the Reagan Era: A Prescription for Scandal, which examined the politicisation of pharmaceutical regulation in the 1970s-1980s and was awarded the 2015 British Association for American Studies Arthur Miller Centre First Book Prize.  He is currently working on a new monograph for McGill-Queen's University Press and it is tentatively called Contested Medicines: From Radical Drugs to Big Pharma.  He is the Co-Editor in Chief of Social History of Alcohol and Drugs.

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.

John Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Health History at Glasgow Caledonian University

Emeritus Professor John Stewart

Emeritus Professor of Health History at Glasgow Caledonian University

John was awarded the 2021 Peter Townsend Prize for his book Richard Titmuss: A Commitment to Welfare (Policy Press, 2020)

John is Emeritus Professor of the History of Health and Healthcare at Glasgow Caledonian University. His teaching, research, and publications have focused on modern British welfare history with work appearing in journals such as English Historical Review, Medical History, The New Zealand Journal of History, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Prior to the Titmuss volume, his previous book was Child Guidance in Britain, 1918-1955: The Dangerous Age of Childhood (London, Pickering and Chatto, 2013).

"I am delighted and honoured to be awarded the Peter Townsend Prize. The subject of my book, Richard Titmuss, worked in the 1950s and '60s with Townsend and others, such as Brian Abel-Smith and David Donnison, to establish the academic field now known as Social Policy. Although the relationship between Townsend and Titmuss was under strain in the years before the latter's death, nonetheless both ultimately pursued the same ends - a reduction in inequalities (racial, health, and socio-economic), the more compassionate and less judgemental treatment of welfare recipients, and a society which prioritised social growth over economic growth. We still have much to learn from them, especially in times of pandemic and austerity."

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

Subject Leader for French  at the University of Strathclyde

Caroline’s main research interest is in the field of Belgian and Francophone literature and culture with a particular focus on contemporary women’s writing. She is also interested in issues surrounding cultural identities in Francophone countries and currently works on contemporary Francophone illness narratives in relation to trauma and gender. She has also recently been looking into the lives of Belgian refugees in the West of Scotland during World War 1 and, in particular, into women’s health during their time in exile from Belgium. In March 2016, at the University of Strathclyde, she co-organised an international conference entitled Trauma and Gender in 20th Century European Literature, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Simon Walker

Associate Researcher

Simon received his PhD from the University of Strathclyde in 2018 for his research into British soldiers' bodies and the lived experience within the First World War.  Throughout this investigation Simon has undertaken additional research into core facets of soldier’s lives including a focus on gender, medical care, spiritism and belief, food and health, and military suicide.  He has published on the role of Army chaplains within the Royal Army Medical Services and his focus on food developed into an ongoing public engagement series via YouTube called Feeding Under Fire, as well as a number of talks and engagement events.  As an Associate Researcher within the Centre he is continuing his investigation into military suicide beyond the PhD and is currently investigating British military suicide between 1850 and 1950.  This investigation has begun with an upcoming chapter on First World War suicide within a collected volume on the First World War with the University of Lisbon as well as the giving of several conference papers on military suicide.  

Simon has also co-coordinated the educational engagement project Journeys Through Health History for several years and has recently taken up a position with Focus West at the University of Strathclyde as part of a focus to encourage wider academic engagement, particularly from schools.  Simon has also been a regular member of teaching team at the University of Strathclyde and has tutored and taught on a wide range of classes and leading classes related to historical themes such as, the military, medicine and health, sex, mental health, European conflict, and the history of Empire.  

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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