Dr Laura Kelly

Senior Lecturer

History

Personal statement

I am Senior Lecturer in the History of Health and Medicine at the University of Strathclyde. I am Director of the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) and a member of the Scottish Oral History Centre (SOHC). I joined the University of Strathclyde as a lecturer in 2015. Prior to that, I was awarded a PhD in History from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2011 and undertook an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin (2012-14). 

My main field of research is the social history of medicine in nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland and I am particularly interested in gender and medicine. My work to date has largely focused on women in the medical profession, medical education and student culture in Ireland. My first monograph Irish women in medicine, c.1880s-1920s: origins, education and careers was published by Manchester University Press in 2012 (paperback, 2015). My second monograph, Irish medical education and student culture, c.1850-1950 was published by Liverpool University Press in September 2017. 

More recently I have become interested in the history of birth control in twentieth-century Ireland. This is the focus of my new research project, 'Contraception and Modern Ireland, c.1922-92' which is funded by a Wellcome Trust research fellowship (2016-2020). This project examines four main themes: men and women's changing birth control practices and attitudes to contraception; the dissemination of knowledge about contraception; the stories of individuals prosecuted for the illegal sale and distribution of contraceptives; and the role of activist groups in debates on the legalisation of contraception. Utilising a range of sources including oral history interviews, women's magazines and archival material, the project will produce a variety of outputs and will help to place current debates on reproductive rights in Ireland in perspective.

I also hold a Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant for a project on Pro-life and Pro-Choice Activism in the Republic of Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s. 

Publications

Irishwomen United, the Contraception Action Programme and the feminist campaign for free, safe and legal contraception in Ireland, c.1976-81
Kelly Laura
Irish Historical Studies (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1017/ihs.2019.54
The contraceptive pill in Ireland c.1964-79 : women, doctors and activism
Kelly Laura
Medical History (2019)
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson : early pioneer of women in medicine
Kelly Laura
The Lancet Vol 390, pp. 2620-2621 (2017)
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)33112-4
Irish medical education and student culture, c.1850-1950
Kelly Laura
Reappraisals in Irish History Reappraisals in Irish History (2017)
'She has broken down the barrier of bigotry and exclusiveness and forced her way into the profession' : Irish women in medicine, c.1880s-1920s
Kelly Laura
Russian and Soviet Healthcare from an International Perspective (2016) (2016)
Irish medical student culture and the performance of masculinity, c.1880-1930
Kelly Laura
History of Education (2016)
https://doi.org/10.1080/0046760X.2016.1181794

more publications

Teaching

I am on research leave from September 2019 - January 2021.

I am currently supervisor to the following PhD students:

Jasmine Wood: Disability and intimacy in the lives of wounded British soldiers, 1914-45 (REA studentship)(second supervisor) 2017-
Georgia Grainger: A history of vasectomy in Britain from 1960 to the twenty-first century (REA studentship)(first supervisor) 2018-
Kristin Hay: An Oral History of Contraception and Abortion in Scotland, c.1960-2000 (Wellcome Trust funded)(first supervisor) 2018-
Mara Dougall: Writing Unity: a practice-led exploration of female physicality in early twentieth-century Britain (internally funded)(second supervisor) 2018-
Rory Stride: An investigation of the ways deindustrialisation and resultant job losses impacted on women workers in Scotland (AHRC funded)(second supervisor) 2018-

Research interests

  • The social history of medicine in modern Ireland
  • Gender and medicine
  • Contraception and reproductive health
  • Activism
  • History of sexuality
  • The medical profession
  • Medical education and student culture

I have received awards from the Wellcome Trust and the Irish Research Council, amongst others for my research and the organisation of international conferences, totalling £433,190 since I began postgraduate study in 2006. I have experience as PI on two projects, one, a Wellcome Trust fellowship in medical humanities on the topic of ‘Contraception and Modern Ireland, c.1922-92’ (2016-2020) and the other an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellowship for a project on the history of medical education and student culture (2012-2014). 

My current research project, funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship in Medical Humanities (June 2016 - August 2020), explores the history of contraception in Ireland, c.1922-92. This project examines four main themes: men and women's changing birth control practices and attitudes to contraception; the dissemination of knowledge about contraception; the stories of individuals prosecuted for the illegal sale and distribution of contraceptives; and the role of activist groups in debates on the legalisation of contraception. Utilising a range of sources including oral history interviews, women's magazines and archival material, the project will produce a variety of outputs and will help to place current debates on reproductive rights in Ireland in perspective.

I also hold a Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant for a project on Pro-life and Pro-Choice Activism in the Republic of Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s. The project has three key objectives: 1) to explore the social backgrounds, motivations, and experiences of individual men and women involved in abortion activism; 2) to investigate the strategies, campaigns and provision of healthcare and support services by activist groups; 3) to examine the impact of activists on legal and medical professionals, church hierarchies and the public. 

 

Professional activities

Society for the Social History of Medicine (External organisation)
Advisor
2019
Elected Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland (External organisation)
Advisor
2018
History (Organisational unit)
Advisor
9/2017
AHRC Peer Review College (External organisation)
Member
1/1/2017
History (Organisational unit)
Advisor
2015
Economic and Social History Society of Ireland (External organisation)
Member
11/2014

more professional activities

Projects

Abortion activism in the Republic of Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s
Kelly, Laura (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2020
An Oral History of Contraception and Abortion in Scotland c. 1960-2000 (Kristin Hay)
Kelly, Laura (Principal Investigator) Newlands, Emma (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2021
Psychedelic Birth: R.D. Laing and the Transformation of Psychiatry (Visiting Fellowship: Wendy Kline)
Kelly, Laura (Principal Investigator)
02-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2019
Contraception and Modern Ireland, c.1922-92
Kelly, Laura (Fellow)
01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2020

more projects