Health, Welfare, and Society

Medical Humanities at Brookes

Our work reflects the recent shift in emphasis from the history of medicine to the more interdisciplinary focus of the medical humanities, involving researchers in social sciences and life sciences as well as within the School of History, Philosophy and Culture.

We are interested in medical experimentation, biomedical research and forensic medicine, public health and hygiene, welfare and governance, mental health and healing, as well as eugenics and biopolitics from the 19th century up to the present day.

Our researchers have a wide geographical and chronological spread of expertise, from child welfare and epidemics in early modern England and Venice to the poor law in 19th-century Ireland, from indigenous healing to pharmaceuticals, from public health in 19th-century Britain to experiments in Nazi Germany. We also study racist ideas in 20th-century Eastern Europe, sexuality in Europe, Britain and America, and the history of psychiatry in colonial and postcolonial Asia. A programme of seminars and podcasts ensures that our findings are disseminated widely.

Current projects include a study of subjects’ narratives of medical experimentation between the 1940s and 2001, funded by a five year Wellcome Trust Programme Grant, Disputed Bodies, launched in January 2012.

Academic staff with related research interests