Dr Jessica Meyer

Dr Jessica Meyer

Associate Professor of Modern British History

0113 343 4194

Summary: The Gendering of Formal and Informal Caregiving in Interwar Britain

Location: Parkinson

Teaching Commitments: HIST3732: Men and Masculinity in Britain, c.1860-1960: War, Work and HomeFOAR2000: Research Placement



I am the University Academic Fellow in Legacies of War. From 2011 to 2015 was a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities, based in the School of History.  I graduated from Yale University in 1999 and have an MPhil in European Studies and a PhD in Modern History from the University of Cambridge.

Research Interests

My primary fields of interest is the history of gender, particularly masculine identity, and the medical history of war and conflict. My monograph on British soldiers' masculine identity during the First World War, Men of War: Masculinity and the First World War in Britain, is published by Palgrave Macmillan. I am currently working on a new book relating to my Wellcome Trust-funded project on the roles and identities of non-commissioned male medical service personnel in the British armed forces during the First World War. I have also published extensively on war disability and popular fiction. I am also particularly interested in the history of psychological disability, postwar civil reintegration and disability pensions, middlebrow, detective and adventure fiction and representations of the First World War in popular culture.

Current research projects

Masculinity and Medical Care in Britain during the First World War

I am currently in the final stages of a project examining masculine identity in relation to the experiences of male care givers in the British armed forces during the First World War, with particular reference to stretcher bearers and nursing orderlies.  The project looks at medical structures in the British armed services, their development over the course of the war and their relationship with voluntary services such as the British Red Cross and the St John's Ambulance Corps, the recruitment and training of Other Ranks medical service personnel, and the personal experiences of these men, their relationships to doctors, nurses and patients, and their perception of themselves as masculine actors in wartime.  By focusing on the status and experience of a group of men involved in service activity in a non-combatant role, I explore the gendering of care and service in wartime as well as the gendering of medical roles in British society.

The Gendering of Formal and Informal Care in Interwar Britain

From September I will be undertaking five-year project, funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, to examine the gendering of formal and informal forms of medical and social care for disabled British ex-servicemen after the First World War. At the centre of the project is the development of a database of the Ministry of Pension files relating to these ex-servicemen and archived by the National Archives in section PIN 26.  Using quantitative analysis of these files alongside close textual readings of a sample of the material they contain, as well as material drawn from archives of hospitals, local governments and charitable institutions, the project will uncover the types of medical and social care provided by the State, charities and the family and explore how these groups of care providers related to each other.  In doing so, it seeks to explore how medical and social care were shaped by gender in a key period of for British medical history.

Both these projects form part of the medical strand of Legacies of War: http://arts.leeds.ac.uk/legaciesofwar/. I also contribute to a number of collaborative activities within this hub, including acting as co-convenor of the Legacies of War seminar series.

In 2014 I was one of two academic advisers to the BBC World War One at Home project for the Yorkshire region.  I advised on and contributed to stories relating to North, West and South Yorkshire being broadcast by Radios York, Leeds and Sheffield respectively.

My blog about my research can be found at http://armsandthemedicalman.wordpress.com/

Potential areas of supervision

Masculinity and warfare, medicine and the First World War, warfare and disability, the history of gender in nineteenth and twentieth century Britain, the history of popular fiction

Media and Advisory Contact

I am available to the media for comment on medicine and medical care during the First World War, the First World War and popular culture and interwar detective and adventure fiction. Please feel free to contact me with any questions on these subjects you may have.