Photo of Elsa Richardson

Elsa Richardson

Dr

  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

20152019

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I currently hold a Chancellor’s Fellowship in the History of Health and Wellbeing at the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH). Working at the intersection between the medical and cultural history, my research considers the relation of heterodox practices, beliefs and movements to mainstream society and culture, with particular focus on the interaction between medicine and the imagination, science and the supernatural, psychology and the occult. My current research examines histories of nutrition, vegetarianism, other alternative dietary cultures, mental stress and gastric disorders in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain. With the help of a Small Grant from the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust, I am working on a project looking at the life and influence of Eustace Hamilton Miles, the author and owner of several vegetarian and health food shops post-WW1.


My first monograph, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017, examined the place of extraordinary visionary experience in the Victorian scientific and popular imaginary. Specifically, it investigated the phenomenon of second sight, a species of foreknowledge associated with the Scottish Highlands and Islands and described how tales of this strange visionary ability came to impact on the formation of psychological theories, scientific methodologies and dominant cultural forms. Outside of these projects, I have also researched and published on women’s life writing, British modernism, vegetarianism in fiction, performance and psychology, feminist consciousness-raising and psychoanalysis.

In addition to lecturing in the history of medicine at the University of Strathclyde and developing my own research, I also curate arts and science events for public institutions. Working with an arts curator, Alice Carey, I have programmed several large-scale events at the Wellcome Collection in London. In 2018/19 I was named one of the BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinkers.

Research Interests

Science and the supernatural, the history of psychiatiry and psychology, vegetarianism, utopian social movements, stress and the stomach, work and food, second-wave feminism and psychoanalysis.

Teaching Interests

I have experience teaching on the history of medicine and the history of psychiatry, and I have co-authored undergraduate courses on the history of the supernatural and the history of the modern self. At Strathclyde I teach on 'Madness and Society', convene second-year course, 'Disease and Society' and a fourth-year special subject 'From Ancient Passions to Modern Feelings: The History of Emotions'. 

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Queen Mary University

1 Oct 20091 Apr 2014

Master of Letters, Glasgow University

1 Sep 20081 Jul 2009

Bachelor of Literature or Bachelor of Letters, Glasgow University

1 Oct 20031 Jul 2007

Keywords

  • vegetarianism
  • supernatural
  • occult
  • Psychology
  • feminism
  • medical history

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Projects

Research Output

Open Access
File
  • 24 Downloads (Pure)

    Second Sight in the Nineteenth Century: Prophecy, Imagination and Nationhood

    Richardson, E., 30 Jul 2017, London. 260 p. (Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • Activities

    They have not our thoughts of weight and measure’: Second Sight, History and Subjectivity

    Elsa Richardson (Speaker)
    3 Jul 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    Love at the Crank's Table: Sex and the Natural Diet

    Elsa Richardson (Speaker)
    11 Jun 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation