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School of History

Dr Jenny Bangham

Jenny

Wellcome University Award Lecturer

Email: j.bangham@qmul.ac.uk

Profile

Jenny Bangham specialises in the history of medicine and the biomedical sciences. She is author of Blood Relations: Transfusion and the Making of Human Genetics (University of Chicago Press, 2020). With Emma Kowal and Boris Jardine she co-edited 'How Collections End: Objects and Loss in Laboratories and Museums' (BJHS Themes, vol. 4, 2019), and with Xan Chacko and Judith Kaplan is co-editing 'Invisible Labour: Power and Politics in Science' (Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming). She earned a PhD in biology at University College London, and worked as a laboratory geneticist in Edinburgh, where she developed an interest in the cultures and histories of science. She completed an MPhil and PhD in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, and worked at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, before joining the School of History at Queen Mary.

Research

Research Interests:

I am a historian of medicine and the biomedical sciences, and I study how medical and research communities produce scientific knowledge about human life. I am particularly interested in the ways that genetics has been communicated and experienced, and how it has become understood as such a powerful authority on human health, history and identity. My current Wellcome-funded project examines the history of genetic counselling, sickle cell counselling, and thalassaemia counselling in the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

I am the author of 'Blood Relations: Transfusion and the Making of Human Genetics' (University of Chicago Press, 2020), which explores the close links between mid-twentieth century blood donation and the science of human heredity. Before arriving at QM, I carried out Wellcome-funded research on databases, scientific communities and living laboratory collections. In several collaborative projects with friends and colleagues, I have reflected on the people and processes made invisible in science. With Xan Chacko and Judith Kaplan I am the editor of the book Invisible Labour in Modern Science (Rowman and Littlefield, 2022). With Emma Kowal and Boris Jardine, I edited the open access volume, 'How Collections End: Objects and Loss in Laboratories and Museums' (BJHS Themes, vol. 4, 2019). With Soraya de Chadarevian, I edited a 14-paper special issue on postwar human population research (2014). I also collaborated with Esther Teichmann at the Royal College of Art on the Wellcome-funded project ‘One Cell at a Time’, an interdisciplinary public engagement art project connected to the Human Cell Atlas initiative.

Before becoming a historian, I studied to be a scientist, first earning a PhD in biology at University College London, and then working as a laboratory geneticist in Edinburgh, where I developed an interest in the cultures and histories of science. I completed an MPhil and PhD in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, and worked at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, before joining the School of History at Queen Mary.

Publications

Bangham, J. ‘New meanings in the archive: technological change, privacy protections and the status of sources’ Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte [History of Science and the Humanities] (forthcoming). 

Bangham, J., X. Chacko and J. Kaplan, eds., Invisible Labour in Modern Science (Rowman and Littlefield, 2022)

Bangham, J. Blood Relations: Transfusion and the Making of Human Genetics, 325pp. University of Chicago Press (2020). 

Bangham, J. ‘Living collections: Care and curation at Drosophila stock centres,’ BJHS Themes 4: 123–147 (2019). 

Jardine, B., Kowal E., Bangham, J. ‘Introduction: How Collections End’, BJHS Themes, 4: 1–27 (2019). 

Bangham, J. ‘What Is Race?: UNESCO, mass communication and human genetics in the early 1950s’, History of the Human Sciences 28, 80–107 (2015) 

Bangham, J. ‘Blood groups and human groups: Collecting and calibrating genetic data after World War Two’. Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 47, 74–86 (2014). 

Bangham, J. ‘Writing, printing, speaking: Rhesus blood-group genetics and nomenclatures in the mid-twentieth century.’ British Journal of the History of Science, 47, 335–361 (2014). 

Bangham, J. and de Charadavian, S., ‘Human heredity after 1945: Moving populations centre stage.’ Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences 47, 45–49 (2014).

Supervision

Histories of twentieth-century biomedicine; histories of science communication; histories of anthropology.

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