Dr James F. Stark

Dr James F. Stark

University Academic Fellow in Medical Humanities

+44 (0)113 343 0247

Summary: History of medicine, especially public health, infectious disease and ageing; medical humanities; material culture in science, technology and medicine

Location: 3 Cavendish Road, 2.02


After undergraduate study at the University of Cambridge and postgraduate work at the University of Manchester, Jamie joined the University of Leeds as a doctoral student in 2008. His thesis, supported by an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, focused on the appearance and social role of anthrax in Bradford during period from 1878 to 1919. He has since held two postdoctoral positions at Leeds, first as an AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellow (2011-12) and then as a Research Fellow on the Arts Engaged project (2012-15).

His current research focuses on the history of rejuvenation and anti-ageing in the twentieth century, exploring in particular the links between biomedical and socio-cultural approaches to ageing, vitality and beauty. Supported by a major AHRC Leadership Fellowship his project, Endless Possibilities of Rejuvenation, builds on a Wellcome Seed Award which brought together for the first time a cohort of researchers from across the arts and humanities to investigate the concept and practices of regeneration in medicine. His other research interests include the role of patenting and ownership in medicine and healthcare, the history of medical technologies and the history of infectious disease and public health.

Other live projects include a collaboration with the Science Museum, Digital Tools in the Service of Difficult Heritage, investigating the use of digital tools to reimagine our relationship with challenging histories of disability and an exploratory project, Exploring Histories and Futures of Innovation in Advanced Wound Care, bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines to explore the development and history of advanced wound care.

He has held grants as both Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Leeds Social Sciences Institute, Scientific Instrument Society, and the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society. He has also collaborated extensively with the Thackray Medical Museum and has worked with a diverse range of non-academic partners, including the Science Museum, Boots, National Trust, Leeds Museums and Galleries, and Marks & Spencer.

In 2016 he was jointly awarded the Royal Society's Notes and Records Essay Prize for his paper on Arthur Koestler and anti-reductionism in biology, and in 2014 he received First Prize in the Young Scholars Award Competition by the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine for an essay examining the international network of anthrax research between Britain, France and Australia in the late nineteenth century.

He is Chair of the Outreach and Education Committee of the British Society for the History of Science, as well as the Society's Honorary Archivist. He has spent time as a visiting researcher at the University of Hong Kong (November 2013) and the University of Sydney (April 2014). Since 2011 he has organised a number of events for the British Science Festival and is currently on the committee of the Medical Sciences Section of the British Science Association.

In 2014-15 he was a member of the New Generations in Medical Humanities training programme. In 2015 he was appointed to the AHRC Peer Review College, and he is also Director of Impact for the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science.

He would welcome enquiries from prospective research students or fellow researchers interested in any aspects of the history of medicine and science in the nineteenth or twentieth century, particularly those whose interests lie in the following areas:

  • Infectious disease and public health
  • Medical technologies
  • Visual and material culture in the history of medicine
  • Age, ageing and fertility
  • Medical humanities