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Sarah York

Sarah York  


  Dr Sarah York
44 (0)2476 23315
Academic Profile
  • Departmental Impact Officer (History), University of Warwick, 2012-2013
  • Research and Teaching Fellow, Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick, 2011-2012
  • Research Fellow, Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick and Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin, 2010-2011 (collaborative project, 'Madness, Migration and the Irish in Lancashire, c.1850-1921')
  • PhD (University of Birmingham, 2010) 'Suicide, Lunacy and the Asylum in Nineteenth-Century England'
  • M.A. in Historical Studies, Oxford Brookes University (2003)
  • B.A. in Modern History, University of Wolverhampton (2002)
Research Interests

She has worked on the history of psychiatry and asylums with particular reference to the care and management of suicidal lunatics. She wrote her PhD thesis, Suicide, Lunacy and the Asylum in Nineteenth-Century England, in the History of Medicine Unit at Birmingham University. The thesis examines the admission, discharge, treatment and management of suicidal lunatics over the course of the nineteenth century. She is also interested in the relationship between mental illness and migration, and the impact of migration on the public health of major port cities. These issues were explored in her work with Professor Hilary Marland and Dr Catherine Cox on the Wellcome Trust funded project, 'Madness, Migration and the Irish in Lancashire, c.1850-1921'.

The focus of her current research, 'The Military Mind at War and Narratives of Mental Breakdown, 1800-1914', lies in medical humanities.Using interdisciplinary approaches to narrative (history, sociology, cultural studies and literature) the project investigates the mental impact of war on British servicemen in the army and navy, and the role of medical men in the formation in military psychiatry before Shell Shock. It examines patients, the military, medicine and society through personal narratives, professional accounts and social commentary to reveal richly textured ways of understanding military psychiatry as an evolving practice, and understanding of mental breakdown and treatment as an individual subjective experience.

Future research projects currently in development: 'Treatment and Human Rights Violations of Ethnic Minority Prisoners in Post-War Britain' and 'Legitimising Tourette Syndrome: Individual and Cultural Influences on Diagnosis, Treatment and Perception'.

Selected Publications

York. S, Suicicde, Lunacy and the English Asylum, 1845-1900 (in preparation).

Cox. C., Marland, H., and York, S. (Forthcoming, 2013), 'Itineries and Experiences of Insanity: Irish Migration and Mental Illness in Nineteenth-Century Lancashire', in Cox and Marland (eds) Migration, Health and Ethnicity in the Modern World (Palgrave).

Cox, C., Marland, H., and York, S. (Autumn, 2012), 'Emaciated, Exhausted and Excited: The Bodies and Minds of the Irish in Nineteenth-Century Lancashire Asylums', Journal of Social History.

York, S. (2012), ‘Alienists, Attendants and the Containment of Suicide in Public Lunatic Asylums, 1845-1890’, Social History of Medicine, 25; 324-342.

York, S. (2010), ‘Chemical Control or Therapeutic Intervention?: Drugs and the Treatment of Suicidal Lunatics in Late Nineteenth-Century England', Ex Historia, 2; 20 -42. (

Book reviews:

York, S. (2011) Review of Suicide. Foucault, History and Truth (I. Marsh), Medical History.

York, S. (2010) Review of A Sadly Troubled History. The Meanings of Suicide in the Modern Age (J. Weaver), History of Psychiatry.

Undergraduate Modules Taught

Medicine, Disease and Society in Britain 1750-1950 (HI156)

Making of the Modern World (seminar tutor)

    Public Engagement Projects

    War, Memory, Trauma (collaboration with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum)