Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Rebecca Noble

About me

I am a final year PhD researcher with the Centre for the History of Medicine. My research focusses on understandings of madness in Bourbon Mexico, 1713-1821. My research is supervised by Professors Rebecca Earle and Hilary Marland and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

I completed my undergraduate degree in History at the University of Oxford in 2012. My undergraduate dissertation ‘Diabolism in Eighteenth Century Mexico’ was supervised by Professor Alan Knight. This project, which received University funding for a research trip to use the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City, informed my PhD proposal to the University of Warwick.

After finishing my degree, I worked with the Auchindrain Trust, in Argyll, on projects including researching and writing a heritage recipe book; project-managing a festival; and participating in community engagement through creating and delivering activities for the public and for school visits. One highlight was giving a talk and tour on the architecture of the site to students from Glasgow School of Art. I have also worked in performing arts consultancy and undertaken freelance consultancy and voluntary public engagement work in the heritage sector.

About my research

My research is based on understandings of madness in Bourbon Mexico and how those theories were utilised in different areas of colonial life, such as the Inquisition, army, criminal justice system, and Christian missions. By looking at Enlightenment texts, medical journals, and colonial bureaucratic records I hope to develop a picture of the varied conceptions of madness in this period and how diverging understandings played out in practical scenarios such as trials.

By asking questions such as ‘What worldviews shaped beliefs about madness?’ and ‘How were understandings of madness formed based on race, class and gender?’ I intend to add to a nuanced understanding of mentalities in Bourbon Mexico.

My methodology will draw on a theoretical framework of the Atlantic as a category of historical analysis in order to think about how ideas are dispersed, reinterpreted and repurposed between people and territories.


2013- 2017 PhD History, University of Warwick (Centre for the History of Medicine)

2014 Diplomado de Historia de la Medicina, Departamento de Historia y Filosofía de la Medicina, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

2009-2012 BA History, University of Oxford

Awards and Grants

2013-2017 ESRC Doctoral Studentship

2015 ESRC Overseas International Visit Funding
2013-2014 ESRC Overseas Fieldwork Funding
2011 Colin Matthew History Award
2011 St Hugh’s College, Oxford Research Travel Grant

Curriculum Vitae

2013 Operations Officer and Campus Consultant; Oxford Royale Academy, Oxford
2012-2013 CultureLab International Fellow; Baker Richards, Cambridge
2012 Museum Management Assistant; The Auchindrain Trust, Argyll

Professional Development

2013-2014 ESRC Doctoral Training Centre Modules:
Philosophies of Social Science
Quantitative Methods for Researchers; SPSS and the British Social Attitudes Survey, 2006
2013-2014 University of Warwick Language School Spanish classes, Level 5
2010-2012 Oxford Languages for Study and Research Spanish classes, upper intermediate and advanced level

Conference Attendance

27th-29th April 2015: Presenting at Colonial Christian missions and their legacies, University of Copenhagen

8th-12th April 2015: Presenting at the Rocky Mountain Conference for Latin American Studies, Tucson, Arizona

20th February 2015: Philosophers in the Kitchen, The Warburg Institute, London

2nd-4th October 2014: Presented a paper ‘The Place and Purpose of Madness in the Eighteenth-Century New Spanish Inquisition’ and participated in the Southwest Seminar Program hosted by the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona

18th August 2014: 150 años del nacimiento de la Gaceta Médica de México, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, UNAM

30th May 2014: Presented a paper, ‘Inquisitorial meaning-making and madness in eighteenth-century New Spain’, at the Warwick History Postgraduate Conference

6th May 2014: Reform and Reformation: The Eighth Research Colloquium, Warwick

29th April – 1st May 2014: History after Hobsbawm Conference, Birkbeck

14th – 15th March 2014: Alien Nations: Identities and Empires in Global History, Warwick

8th -10th January 2014 Postgraduate History of Science Conference, Leeds

11th - 13th October 2013: From Moral Treatment to Psychological Therapies: Psychotheraputics from the York Retreat to the Present Day, Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines UCL

7th-8th December 2012: Pain and its Meanings, Wellcome Collection

Other Responsibilities and Interests

2013-2014 Centre for the History of Medicine Reading Lunch Co-organiser
2013- Member of the Feminist and Gender Reading Group, Warwick University
2012-2013 Public engagement volunteer at the Cambridge Museum of Technology
2010-2011 Women’s Captain of St Hugh’s College Boat Club

Profile Picture

Rebecca Noble

Please feel free to contact me:

R dot Noble at warwick dot ac dot uk