Dr James F. Stark

Dr James F. Stark

Research Fellow

+44 (0)113 343 2021

Summary: History of Modern Medicine; Philosophy of Medicine and Disease Identities; History of Medical Technologies

Location: Leeds Humanities Research Institute


James F. Stark is an Arts Engaged Fellow with particular expertise in the field of museums and galleries. For more on his work in this capacity, please click here. He has worked extensively with the Thackray Medical Museum, and his research on the Overbeck Rejuvenator was the subject of a major feature in New Scientist.

His main area of research is in the history of medicine since 1850. He completed undergraduate study at Cambridge University and postgraduate work at the Universities of Manchester and Leeds. His doctoral 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 published on factory regulation in Victorian Britain, the visual culture of external anthrax, and the global history of disease identities. One of the major themes of his work is the relationship between bacteriology, sanitation and public health, although he is also interested in examining the importance of "place" for scientific, medical and technological endeavour.

His current research focuses on the history of rejuvenation and anti-ageing in collaboration with the Boots Company Archive, the role of patenting and ownership in medicine and healthcare, and the urban-rural relationship surrounding the supply of fresh water to Leeds in the 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).

Previous post-doctoral research included an AHRC-funded Knowledge Transfer Fellowship, applying recent research on patenting in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to medical technologies in conjunction with Professor Graeme Gooday and the Thackray Medical Museum. This involved carrying out audience consultation events, writing public-facing object biographies, and running training sessions for museum staff, as well as carrying out research into objects in the collections, particularly the Marconi Otophone, Hanovia-Kromayer UV Lamp, and Overbeck Rejuvenator.

Research Interests

- History of modern medicine since 1850, especially infectious disease and public health

- Philosophy of medicine and disease identities

- History of medical technologies and patenting

- Visual culture and representations in the history of medicine