- Human health, animal health and their intersections in modern Britain.
- The history of livestock farming
- The science, practice and policy of animal health and welfare
- Animal History
- Veterinary history
The linking theme of my research is the history of animal health, and its intersections with histories of human health and agricultural production. Focussing on Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, I have explored how and why livestock disease patterns and perceptions changed over time, along with concepts of health, welfare and productivity. I have examined the evolution of animal health science and policy, and the roles, values and expertise of practising and state vets. I am particularly interested in the evolution of modern livestock systems, and their implications for livestock health and human-animal relationships.
In a recently completed Wellcome Trust Funded-programme of research into ‘One Medicine: Investigating human and animal disease’, I worked with post-doctoral researchers to understand the place of animals within the history of modern medicine. In demonstrating the historical significance of animals as subjects and shapers of medicine, the project developed important insights into past animal lives, and revealed that what we think of as ‘human’ medicine was in fact deeply zoological.
From September 2018 I will be leading a team of researchers drawn from 4 disciplines and 5 universities in a £1.5m Wellcome Trust-funded collaborative project, ‘Thinking forward through the past: Linking science, social science and the humanities to inform the sustainable reduction of endemic disease in British livestock farming.’
I supervise a cluster of PhD students working on different aspects of animal history and who have come together to form the Animal History Group. I welcome enquiries from prospective students interested in any aspects of modern medicine, farming and animals.
For more details, please see my full research profile.