Seminar Series 2023/24
To book a place at the seminars, please email email@example.com
All talks will be held from 4-5.30pm, in person in Room TL324 and via Zoom on this link:
Semester 1 Programme
10 October 2023
Dr Hannah Elizabeth (LSHTM)
Joint seminar with Women's History Scotland
'Everyone expected me to get an abortion’: Managing HIV-affected pregnancy in Edinburgh in the late 20th Century
Abstract: This paper tracks how the advice to terminate pregnancies became integral to the medical and social management of HIV among women in the UK and how this shaped experiences of HIV-affected pregnancy. Specifically, it traces how the advice that ‘at risk’ and HIV positive women should avoid pregnancy, and should terminate pregnancies, evolved in Edinburgh in the last decades of the twentieth century. It asks how this advice shaped the experiences of pregnant people affected by HIV, and then finally traces how the advice to terminate pregnancies ebbed away. In doing so, the chapter explores how healthcare practitioners and the women under their care viewed HIV-affected pregnancy, and the possibilities of HIV-affected motherhood and the families it conjured, excavating the myriad tensions which shaped the decision to terminate or continue a pregnancy affected by HIV.
Hannah Elizabeth is a cultural historian of health, sexuality, emotions and childhood in Britain. They are currently working on a Wellcome funded project investigating how HIV-affected people built and maintained families in Edinburgh, influencing national and international policy and practice through daily acts of love, care, and activism. Their most recent publication from the project is a chapter titled: ‘Recovering Mothers’ Experiences of HIV/AIDS Health Activism in Edinburgh, 1983-2000’. Beyond histories of HIV they have published widely on the history of British public health education, activism, teenage sexual health and sexuality, most recently with an article on queer women’s health activism in Birmingham with ‘The Wild Women of the West (Midlands)’.
7 November 2023
Dr Grace Redhead (Exeter) and Dr Rebecca Lynch (Exeter)
Grace will be discussing the origins of the 'postcode lottery' of inequalities in healthcare
The ‘postcode lottery’ has become a dominant political framing for place-based health inequalities in Britain, used by patient groups, politicians and in media coverage of regional health and healthcare inequalities. Using newspapers, parliamentary material and health policy, this paper explores the history of the ‘postcode lottery’ as a term of patient protest and political art, and asks what values and ideas about the NHS, the role of the state, and the position of the patient, have been embedded within it. The first part of this paper examines its origins in the 1989-91 introduction of the ‘internal market’, the 1994 reintroduction of the National Lottery, and in the context of widespread anxieties about the uneven distribution of state services and private wealth in Britain. It explores its changing uses through the era of New Labour and the introduction of the Conservative austerity programme, and its use as a ‘weapon’ in the ‘armoury’ of third sector health organisations. It concludes that the ‘postcode lottery’ has gained such political currency because it enables the decontextualization of places from their long social and economic histories. This paper then turns to an examination of the long histories of regional health inequality in Britain obscured by the notion of the ‘postcode lottery’, and how epidemiologists and policymakers have grappled with the problem of resource allocation. Finally, this paper argues that the emergence and use of the ‘postcode lottery’ reflects and reinforces the entanglement of the NHS with the logic of marketisation and appeals to discourses of fairness which ignore questions of structural inequality.
5 December 2023
Dr Andrew Seaton (University College London)
Andrew Seaton will reflect on writing the history of the National Health Service (NHS) by drawing on his new book, Our NHS: A History of Britain's Best-Loved Institution (Yale University Press). Andrew will discuss the principal arguments of his book and their contributions to the fields of medical history, British history, and political history, as well as his methodological choices and approach to writing. In doing so, he hopes to stimulate a wider discussion about how scholars might write future histories of the service and other comparable medical and welfare institutions.