Living with Dying: Everyday Cultures of Dying within Family Life in Britain, c.1900-50 (Laura King and Jessica Hammett)

Focusing on Britain in the first half of the twentieth century, this project examines how experiences of death and dying and the relationship between the living and the dead changes over time. It examines individual testimonies of grief, loss and bereavement as well as working with family historians to explore the place of dying within family life. The project also includes an exhibition at Abbey House Museum and a variety of public events. 

‘Reintegrating Body and Soul: Medicine and Community in Late Medieval Portugal’ (Iona McCleery)

Focusing on late medieval Portugal, this research explores medicine, health– both physical and spiritual – and disease and their wider implications for ideas about the self and the community. It examines the particular context of Portugal, comparing it to the neighbouring Spanish kingdoms and northern Europe.

You are what you ate (Iona McCleery and Alex Bamji)

This major collaborative project works with archaeologists at the University of Bradford, food scientists and the University of Leeds and the non-academic partner Wakefield Council to explore food in the past and how the history of food and eating can bring about a fuller understanding of modern nutrition. The project involves school activities, cooking demonstrations, bone workshops and exhibitions.

Death in early modern Venice (Alex Bamji)

Death in early modern venice













This research explores mortality in early modern Venice, and how it was perceived and recorded. The project also investigates the impact of religious change and concerns about public health on funerals and cemeteries. The project explores the distinctiveness of death in Venice through sustained comparisons with beliefs and practices in the cities of Mantua, Milan and Nuremberg.

Urban Decay: health, disease and society in early modern Venice (Alex Bamji)

This project examines understandings of disease and health in early modern Venice, and sheds light on the accessibility of medical care in the city. It also examines how disease and ill health stimulated religious responses and the regulation of the environment. This research highlights the importance of communication in the Venetian Republic’s public health strategies.

Legacies of War (Jessica Meyer and Laura King)

The major project focuses on the centenary of the First World War, and involves a number of different strands and work with various partners outside the university. Of particular relevance are strands on war and medicine, and a focus on individual experiences of war in the Leeds area and beyond.

Medical Care and Masculinity in the First World War (Jessica Meyer)

Medical care and masculinity













Focusing on male caregivers in the British armed forces in the First World War, this project analyses masculine identity and the gendering of medical roles in British society. The project examines medical structures in the armed services, recruitment and training of personnel, and the personal experiences of male caregivers.

The Lives of Kenya’s White Insane (Will Jackson)

This research adopts a biographical ‘patient’s view’ perspective in order to construct a social history of mental illness and social marginality in colonial Kenya. Drawing on a cache of over 250 psychiatric patient case files, the research examines the construction and treatment of insanity in a context where the justification for settler-colonial rule hinged on the ability of Europeans to emulate their putative identity. Developing existing literatures on whiteness, race and colonial psychiatry the research speaks also to debates on decolonisation, deviance and social control.

Men, Masculinity and Maternity in Britain, from the 1950s to the Present (Laura King)

Men maternity masculinity















In examining men’s changing role in pregnancy, childbirth and early infant care, this project analyses the process of becoming a father over successive generations. It explores the interaction between parents’ experiences, medical policies and cultural norms around family life.

Identity, Performance and the State: India's Denotified Tribes over Independence (William Gould)

This project examines India’s ‘Denotified Tribes’ (previously ‘Criminal Tribes’), and involves both historical research and film documentary. It examines two Denotified Tribes and explores the implications of denotification for the welfare of these groups over India’s independence.

Public Information Centres, corruption and citizenship: The Janta Suchna Kendra (William Gould)

This project involves collaboration with a large Right to Information (RTI) Third Sector organisation in north India around the problems of everyday administrative and political corruption.  Gould’s research has assisted in the setting up of a series of Public Information Centres where citizens can file RTIs and get information on government projects, including those involving health.

From subjects to citizens: society and the everyday state in North India and Pakistan, 1947-1964 (William Gould)

Examining South Asia’s transition from colonialism to independence, this project focuses on citizens’ experiences and contacts with the new state. The research is currently being conducted by Will Gould and Sarah Ansari (Royal Hollaway, University of London).

Before HIV: Sexuality, Fertility and Mortality in East Africa, 1900-1980 (Shane Doyle)

Before hiv projectThis project uses innovative research methods to examine the medical and demographic history of three East African societies. It explores dramatic change in sexual behaviour, fertility and mortality, and has resulted in a monograph.










 Agents of Future Promise

This project explores how children have been used to represent certain futures, and to what effect, in modern British and French history.

Since childhood was 'invented' in Britain, Europe and beyond, adults have made use of children at an individual and collective level to promote their own notions of the future. Children bear the burden of social expectations: they are 'agents of future promise'. While this research project seeks to examine children and ideology in the Western past, it also begins to think about how children are still being ideologically used in the contemporary world. Through our collaboration with external partners, we will start to examine how past insights can influence present practice.