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Dr Anne Hanley

BA (Sydney) PhD (Cambridge) FRHistS
Lecturer in History of Science and Medicine

Contact details

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London
Room B07
28 Russell Square

Twitter: @annerhanley


  • Anne holds a BA in History and English Literature from the University of Sydney and a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge. Before joining Birkbeck in 2017, she worked with the Centre for HPS at the University of Leeds and was the Junior Research Fellow in Modern History at New College, University of Oxford. She has published widely on the history of gender, sexuality, sexual health, bioethics and health policy.
  • Anne sits on the Executive Committee of the Society for the Social History of Medicine and the Outreach and Engagement Committee of the British Society for the History of Science. In addition to her academic work, she is a historical consultant for TV and radio.

Research and teaching

  • Research interests
  • Anne has researched and published on a broad range of topics in medicine, welfare and sexuality during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, along with closely related themes in gender, social and political history. Her current research examines how state intervention in the treatment of venereal diseases transformed the structure and ideology of healthcare in Britain from the end of the Great War to the ‘swinging sixties’.
  • She is also working on a transnational project that explores how, and with what consequences, new medical ideas and technologies were trialled between 1870 and 1950. This project sits at the intersection of historical bioethics, knowledge exchange and medical commerce. Medical ethics have been (and continue to be) shaped by politics, race, gender, sexuality and class. Anne’s research is examining how these issues informed relationships between health professionals and patients; the provision of medical resources; and the choice to trial experimental drugs and procedures on persons living in societies without codified bioethics. Her research places the patient at the centre of evolving medical ideas, treatments and technologies.
  • Teaching
  • A Very British Scandal, 1820–1939 (BA)
  • Medical Experimentation from Frankenstein to Nuremberg (MA)
  • Anne is also Co-director of the MA in Medical Humanities: Bodies, Cultures and Ideas'
  • PhD supervision
  • Anne supervises and examines on topics across the social history of medicine and modern British history.


  • Books
  • Medicine, Knowledge and Venereal Diseases in England, 1886–1916 (London: Palgrave, 2017)
  • Articles and chapters
  • ‘“The Great Foe to the Reproduction of the Race”: Diagnosing and Treating Venereal Diseases-Induced Infertility, 1880–1914’, Tracey Loughran and Gayle Davis (eds), Infertility in History: Approaches, Contexts and Perspectives (London: Palgrave, 2017).
  • ‘Syphilisation and its Discontents: Experimental Inoculation Against Syphilis at the London Lock Hospital’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2017): 1–32.
  • ‘Venereology at the Polyclinic: Postgraduate Medical Education Among General Practitioners in England, 1899–1914’, Medical History (2015): 199–221.
  • ‘“Scientific Truth into Homely Language”: The Training and Practice of Midwives in Ophthalmia Neonatorum, 1895–1914’, Social History of Medicine (2014): 199–220.


Professional membership

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • American Association for the History of Medicine
  • Society for the Social History of Medicine
  • British Society for the History of Science
  • Staff and Educational Development Association