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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.

Dr Victoria Brown

Research Associate at Glasgow Caledonian University

Victoria's specialisms and interests include public health and the historical involvement of General Practitioners as well as the development of the profession during the 19th and 20th centuries; the history of health within the North East of England and its relationship with industry; Victorian psychiatry, with particular focus on the medical profession witin the asylum. She is currently working as a Research Associate on the Disability and Industrial Society: A Comparative History of British Coalfields, 1780-1948 project, examining the coal industrial in the North East of England. This programme of research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and co-directed by Prof Anne Borsay and Dr David Turner at Swansea University, uses the coal industry to explore how understandings and experiences of disability were affected by industrialisation between 1780 and the end of the Second World War. She is collaborating with Dr Vicky Long on this project.

Dr Beatriz Caballero

Subject Leader in Spanish at the University of Strathclyde

Beatriz's area of specialisation is 20th Century History of Ideas in Spain and in exile. She is particularly interested in the analysis of cultural products - such as essays, novels, and films - from the point of view of the representation of memory, trauma, gender and identity. Specifically, she has been exploring the concept of trauma and delirium in the work of Spanish Republican thinker, Maria Zambrano (1940-1991). She also co-organised, along with colleague Dr Caroline Verdier, a conference entitled Trauma and Gender in 20th Century European Literature, funded by the Wellcome Trust and under the aegis of the CSHHH.

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.

Dr Janet Greenlees

Deputy 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.

Sept 2017

Dr Laura Kelly

Director of the CSHHH

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.

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 Jesse Olszynko-Gryn

Lecturer in History at the University of Strathclyde

Jesse’s research interests are diverse, but converge on the topics of reproductive health, medical technology, and media history.  Lately, he has been studying and intervening in the unresolved controversy over the use and regulation of sex hormones in pregnancy. His first book will reconstruct the transformation of pregnancy testing—a little-studied reproductive and diagnostic technology—from an esoteric laboratory service to a commonplace of everyday life. He is also collaborating with historians in Europe and America on two major fronts: the history of debates over iatrogenic birth defects after thalidomide; and the history of reproductive cinema, video and television. He has published articles and book chapters on the history of pregnancy testing, population control, science fiction, feminism, product placement, health policy, contraception, and abortion.

Dr Elsa Richardson

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

Vice-Dean of Research for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor of History at the University of Strathclyde

Matthew has been Co-Director of our centre since 2015. His historical interests include mental health and psychiatry; allergy and immunology; food and nutrition; childhood health; and environmental health. Matt's books include An Alternative History of Hyperactivity: Food Additives and the Feingold Diet (Rutgers UP, 2011), Hyperactive: The controversial History of ADHD (Reaktion, 2012); Another Person's Poison: A History of Food Allergy(Columbia UP, 2015) and (co-edited with Vicky Long and Despo Kritsotaki) Deinstitutionalisation and After: Post-War Psychiatry in the Western World(Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Having benefitted from Wellcome Trust funding previously, his current project on the history of social psychiatry is funded by an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship. Matt is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker and a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy of Scotland. In addition to a host of public engagement activities, he has been working with Pinkie St Peter's Primary School in Musselburgh to develop preventive mental health strategies in children.

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 is presently working on a biography, sponsored by the London School of Economics, of the social policy academic and Labour Party advisor Richard Titmuss.  Titmuss, initially almost single-handedly, created the academic field of social administration (what we would now call social policy) in Britain following his appointment to the London School of Economics as its first Professor of Social Administration in 1950. Titmuss wrote extensively on health and other welfare issues.

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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