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Sarah Jane Bodell

Current Research

Project Title:

'Work amongst the Sick Poor': Home Medical Missions and the Transition from Victorian Charity to the Welfare State.

I am a final year doctoral candidate in the department of History studying Protestant evangelical medical missions to the poor in London in the early-to-mid twentieth century. 'Home missions' offer a unique opportunity for studying the transition from Victorian charity to the welfare state. These institutions have been altogether overlooked due to scholarly biases against religion as a mode of historical analysis.

Themes of my work on home medical missions include:

  • Conduits of empire, uniting imperial and metropolitan histories
  • Intersection of medicine and religion
  • Women and gender
  • Urban and medical spaces
  • Demographic change and care for the aged
  • Bermondsey Medical Mission network

Roberta Bivins and Hilary Marland are my supervisors.

Bermondsey Medical Mission, 1929
Bermondsey Medical Mission, 1929 (Credit: Wellcome Library)

Previous Research

My MA dissertation was titled Changing Paradigms of Medicine?: Medical Missionaries and the Partition of India. This work explored how medical missionaries have historically reacted to demographic disasters (such as famine and earthquake), how this influenced their activities in the wake of Partition violence in 1947 (through an extensive network of refugee camps), and how these activities created a critical bridge between the paradigm of colonial medicine and the postcolonial rise of development and global health.

Punjab Mission
Jagadhri Mission Hospital, 1921
(Credit: New Zealand Presbyterian Archives)

My undergraduate thesis was a comparative social history of gynaecological and breast cancers titled 'A Continuing Battle: Historical Trends, Successes, and Challenges in Understanding and Treating Women’s Cancers to 2008'.

My research interests include colonial and postcolonial histories, epistemic knowledge and power, medical discourses, gender, religions, visual culture, local economies, race, space, and demography.


  • 2012-2018 PhD - History, University of Warwick
  • 2011-2012 MA (Merit) - History of Medicine, University of Warwick
  • 2008-2010 MA - Bioethics and Medical Humanities, University of Louisville
  • 2004-2008 BA (summa cum laude) - History, Humanities, and Political Science, University of Louisville


  • 2012-2015 Richard and Anne Crossman Memorial Scholarship (Warwick)
  • 2014 Callum MacDonald Memorial Bursary (Warwick)
  • 2013 Humanities Research Fund Travel Grant (Warwick)
  • 2013 Society for the Social History of Medicine Student Bursary
  • 2011-2012 International Office Scholarship (Warwick)
  • 2009-2010 Karen Cooper Memorial Scholarship
  • 2008-2010 Department of Philosophy Fellowship (Louisville)
  • 2008-2010 Mary Craik Scholarship, Women and Gender Studies (Louisville)
  • 2007-2008 Harry L. and Cecilia H. Smith History Scholarship (Louisville)
  • 2004-2008 Provost Hallmark Scholarship (Louisville)


  • 2008 Phi Beta Kappa of Kentuckiana Scholastic Achievement Award
  • 2008 University Honors Scholar (Louisville)
  • 2005-2008 Dean's List (Louisville)

Conference Papers

Organisational Responsibilities

Publications, Projects, and Outreach

Professional Memberships


  • Autumn 2009 Instructor, Survey of Ancient History: Minoan Civilization to the Byzantine Empire; University of Louisville, "Special Topics Supplemented College Reading" (GEN 105)
  • Autumn 2009 Instructor, Survey of Medieval History: Constantine the Great to the Renaissance; University of Louisville, "Special Topics Supplemented College Reading" (GEN 105)

Web Design

Key themes and areas of research (Under construction)


Click to jump to:

Secondary Literature (under construction)

Primary Literature (under construction)



Chapter 1: Historiographical Context

Booth, General William. In Darkest England and the Way Out, 6th edn (London: Charles Knight & Co, 1970).

Burdett, Sir Henry. Burdett's Hospitals and Charities 1899: The Year Book of Philanthropy and Hospital Annual (London: Scientific Press, 1899).

Cox, Jeffrey. The English Churches in Secular Society: Lambeth 1870-1930 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982).

Waddington, Keir. Charity and the London Hospitals, 1850-1898 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2000).

Chapter 2: Missions and Empire

Cox, Jeffrey. Imperial Fault Lines: Christianity and Colonial Power in India, 1818-1940 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002).

Grundmann, Christoffer H. Sent to Heal!: Emergence and Development of Medical Missions (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2005).

Thorne, Susan. Congregational Missions and the Making of an Imperial Culture in Nineteenth-Century England (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999).

Chapter 3: Women and Gender

Collette, Christine. For Labour and For Women: The Women's Labour League, 1906-1918 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989).

Lane, Joan. A Social History of Medicine: Health, Healing and Disease in England, 1750-1950 (London: Routledge, 2001).

Semple, Rhonda Anne Semple. Missionary Women: Gender, Professionalism, and the Victorian Idea of Christian Mission (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 2003).

Chapter 4: Medicine and Theology

Cox, Jeffrey. The English Churches in Secular Society: Lambeth 1870-1930 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982).

Williams, S[arah] C. Religious Belief and Popular Culture in Southwark c. 1880-1939 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

Williams, Sarah [C]. 'Urban Popular Religion and the Rites of Passage' in Hugh McLeod (ed.), European Religion in the Age of Great Cities: 1830-1930 (London: Routledge, 1995).

Chapter 5: Demographic Change and Care for the Aged

Thane, Pat. 'Old Women in Twentieth-Century Britain' in Lynn Botelho and Pat Thane (eds), Women and Ageing in British Society Since 1500 (Harlow: Longman, 2001).




<> Chapter 1: Historiographical Context

<> Chapter 2: Missions and Empire

<> Chapter 3: Women and Gender

<> Chapter 4: Medicine and Theology

<> Chapter 5: Demographic Change and Care for the Aged

<> Conclusion

Thanks for visitin'!

Sarah Jane Bodell

Sarah Jane Bodell

S dot J dot Bodell at warwick dot ac dot uk

Centre for the History of Medicine

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