Hannah Proctor


  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Personal Statement

I joined the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare at  Strathclyde in 2019.

I am a historian broadly interested in intersections between left-wing politics and the psy’ disciplines, including histories and theories of radical psychiatry, Communist and anti-Communist theories of the mind, histories of Freudo-Marxism (as both intellectual theory and clinical practice), and emotional histories of the left.

My first monograph Psychologies in Revolution: Alexander Luria's 'Romantic Science' and Soviet Social History was published as part of the Palgrave Macmillan series 'Mental Health in Historical Perspective' in 2020. 

My second book Burnout: The Emotional Experience of Political Defeat is forthcoming with Verso in spring 2024. Structured around eight concepts – melancholia, nostalgia, depression, burnout, exhaustion, bitterness, trauma and mourning ­– Burnout explores emotional experiences of political defeat, disillusionment and depletion in historical perspective. 

I was awarded an Early Career Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust for a postdoctoral project exploring social scientific projects based at institutions in the US that investigated the 'Soviet mind' at the dawn of the Cold War. I have since been awarded a Wellcome Trust University Award to research international campaigns against the political abuse of psychiatry in the USSR. I am currently developing my third book project, which emerges from these two research projects, tentatively/provisionally titled 'Communist Cases: Political Pathologization and US Social Science in the Cold War'. 

Before joining Strathclyde in 2019, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the ICI Berlin, taught at Bard College Berlin and Leuphana Universitaet in Germany, and held ISSF Wellcome fellowships in Medical Humanities at Birkbeck and the University of Leeds. I have also guest lectured at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and HEAD Geneva. I completed my PhD at Birkbeck, University of London in Medical Humanities. Prior starting my Phd, I spent five years working in theatre administration and production in London.

I've written for both academic and non-academic publications on topics including rayon stockings, gender and the death drive, utopian pedagogy, Communist motherhood, wrinkles, the aesthetics of fMRI, Soviet babies, revolutionary commemoration, British antipsychiatry, mourning, depression, perfume, and Ulrike Meinhof’s brain. I have published pieces on film for Another Gaze, Tribune, Jacobin, and Parapraxis.

I'm on the editorial collective of Radical Philosophy. I’m also a contributing editor at Parapraxis Mag and web/reviews editor of History of the Human Sciences.


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Medical Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London


Award Date: 1 Feb 2016

Master of Arts, Cultural and Critical Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

Award Date: 30 Sept 2010

Bachelor of Arts, History, University College London

Award Date: 30 Sept 2005


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