I work on the history of modern Britain, with a particular interest in women’s history and the history of medicine. My recent research, which is now being transformed into a monograph with Manchester University Press, has examined how anxiety about maternal mental health played out in healthcare debates and social campaigns in the late twentieth century. I have argued that the creation of maternal mental health as an object of concern was not neutral, but rather served to legitimise and entrench the preoccupations of social and medical actors in postwar Britain. Popular anxiety over maternal mental health was made possible by the rise of the social sciences and the spread of survey mechanisms, allowing me to tell a bigger story of how such developments shaped issues of public concern.

My current research explores the history of student mental health in Britain, historicising the current ‘crisis’ in undergraduate mental wellbeing. I have published on the history of abortion and the history of the Women’s Liberation Movement. More generally, I am interested in the history of feminism, the history of the NHS, and the history of social movements.

Before taking up a lectureship at Swansea I was the Sir Christopher Cox Junior Fellow at New College, University of Oxford. I completed my Wellcome Trust-funded PhD at Queen Mary University of London in 2016, after doing an AHRC-funded Mst in Women’s Studies at Keble College, Oxford, and an undergraduate degree at the University of Sussex.

I teach on a number of modules here at Swansea and I am happy to discuss supervision on areas related to the history of medicine, the history of feminism, or the history of psychiatry.

Publications

  1. & Reproductive Rebellions in Britain and the Republic of Ireland: Contemporary and Past Abortion Activism and Alternative Sites of Care. Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics 2(2)

Teaching

  • HI-M80 Directed Reading in History

    Under the guidance of an expert supervisor, students analyse developments in research and historiography relating to a topic in History which they choose from a wide range of options.

  • HI-M82 Feminism and Queer Activism in Postwar Britain

    This module will explore feminist and queer activism in Britain in the years following the Second World War. Focusing on two liberation movements ¿ the women¿s liberation movement and the gay liberation movement ¿ it will look at the key areas around which activists mobilised, including the family, work, and sexuality. It will look at the ideas and key debates that shaped activism in the late twentieth century, encouraging students to investigate why feminist and gay activism emerged in the postwar period; to understand the strategies that feminist and LGBTQ movements used to agitate for change; and to think about how class and race have intersected with liberation campaigns. The module concentrates on Britain but draws out global connections, putting British movements in a broader context. Following two initial sessions on sources and methodologies, the module is structured into three parts. In the first sessions, students are introduced to the key developments of the 1950s and the 1960s and are encouraged to think critically about the organising concepts of radical histories. In the ensuing weeks, students explore the drivers, debates, and legacies of the women¿s liberation movement. Following this, we investigate the gay liberation movement and AIDS activism. Finally, the module concludes with a reflection on feminist and LGBTQ visibility in the 1990s. Students are encouraged to make use of the rich digitised and archival source material available on these topics, including the collection on the women¿s liberation movement housed at the West Glamorgan Archive as well as the materials available at the Miners¿ Library.

  • HIH121 Europe of Extremes: 1789 - 1989

    The nineteenth century saw the rise of a western European civilization, characterized, as Eric Hobsbawm has noted, by capitalist economics, liberal politics, and the dominance of a middle class that celebrated morality and science. In the twentieth century this civilization faced unprecedented challenges from new political ideologies, and from a working class demanding the right to govern in its own name. The result was an eruption of violence not seen on the continent for centuries; in its wake, the Cold War divided the Europe with an Iron Curtain, and saw the continent become the client of two world superpowers ¿ the USA and the Soviet Union. This team-taught module relies on the specialist knowledge of its tutors to examine economic, political and social themes in the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe.

  • HIH122 Making History

    History is an imprecise art and what historians say and write about the past is not the same as what actually happened in the past. Most people's knowledge about the past doesn't come from professional historians at all but rather from 'public history'. Public history is the collective understandings of the past that exist outside academic discipline of history. It is derived from a diverse range of sources including oral traditions, legends, literature, art, films and television. This module will introduce you to the study and presentation of the past. It will consider how the content, aims and methods of academic and public history compare and contrast and you will engage in your own small research project to investigate this. The module will also teach you about the fundamentals of studying and writing history at university. You will learn about essay writing, group work and critical analysis and employ these skills to understand and assess history today, both as an academic activity and as public knowledge.

  • HIH3319 A History of Violence

    Violence has played a key role in European and world history. This module will explore how cultures of violence have developed from antiquity to modernity. Beginning with Ancient Greece and ending in the twentieth century, this module will chart the changing practice of violence. It will examine how attitudes towards the practice and representation of violence have changed over centuries. Students will explore different aspects of violence, including state sponsored and interpersonal forms. Topics will include warfare, ritual violence such as the dual, criminal violence and state violence, such as judicial torture and executions. A particular theme of the module will be the increasing state monopolization of violence. Students will be introduced to the theoretical literature on organized and individual violence and be challenged to draw comparisons from different epochs. The course questions whether, as has recently been argued, humanity is becoming less violent.

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
September 2016 September 2018 Sir Christopher Cox Junior Fellow New College, University of Oxford