Catriona Ellis


  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Research Interests

I specialise in the history of children and childhood in late colonial India.  I am particularly interested in state and civil society interventions in the health and education of children, including medical inspections and the introduction of nutritional supplements and free school meals.  I situate this within the wider context of interventions in children's lives, particularly the expansion of welfare policies by the state, by activists and by civil society groups in the fields of education, juvenile justice and the age of consent for marriage. My work considers how this impacted definitions of childhood in South India during the 1920s and 1930s, and the influence of local, regional and global actors such as the League of Nations on the formulation of a rhetoric surrounding the rights of the child.  In addition, I'm interested in theoretical and archival ways of uncovering the agency and the lived experience of children and have worked on autobiographies, court statements and the material culture of play.  My work also speaks to historians of colonial India interested in the impact of dyarchy, progressive constitutional change and the long term impact of the devolution of further powers to elite Indians in the interwar period in the context of the wider nationalist movement.  

Teaching Interests

I currently teach on the following undergraduate courses:

  • Disease and Society: An Introduction to the History of Medicine
  • British Empire: Commerce, Conquest, Cooperation
  • Dangerous Drugs and Magic Bullets: the Social History of Medicines in Modernity
  • Living under the Raj: Colonial South Asia
  • Imperialism, politics and society Britain 1870-1914
  • Global histories of childhood 

I also run the MSc module Governing Highs and Health: history and the control of drugs.

Academic / Professional qualifications

2022 Becoming a Strathclyde Supervisor

2018 PGC Academic Practice, University of Edinburgh

2017 PhD History, University of Edinburgh (part-time)

2008 MSc History, University of Edinburgh (part-time)

2004 BA Hons History, University of Edinburgh


2018 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2023 Chair of the Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (Humanities)

Member of:

Children's History Society

Critical Childhood and Youth Studies Collective, Delhi

BASAS: British Association of South Asian Studies

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Education, PGC Academic Practice, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Nov 2018

Doctor of Philosophy, Children and Childhood in the Madras Presidency in the 1920s and 1930s, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

Award Date: 9 Dec 2016


  • Children, Childhood, Public Health, Nutrition, Age of Consent, Education, Juvenile Delinquency, Autobiographies, South Asia, History of Empire


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