Skip to main content
School of History

Dr Bonnie Evans


Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow



I joined Queen Mary in January 2014. I completed my PhD at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University, in 2010. Following that, I was a postdoctoral researcher at King’s College, London's Centre for Medical Humanities, where I worked on a project entitled ‘Cultural and Historical Influences on Psychiatric Diagnoses’.


Research Interests:

My current project is entitled ‘Neuroscience, Psychology and Education: Autism in the UK 1959-2014.’ It examines the growth of the autism diagnosis in the UK from the 1959 Mental Health Act to the 2014 Children and Families Act. Focusing on government archives, it explores how changing practices of diagnosis, governance, inspection and management in UK schools affected reported levels of autism and enabled the standardisation of autism as an object of neuroscientific and genetic research. The project explores the complex interplay between psychometric tests, policy interventions and models of psychological deficit in the evolution of our current understandings of autism.


My general research interests include:

  • History of psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis and neuroscience
  • History of childhood
  • The theory of developmental psychology
  • History and philosophy of science
  • History of the social sciences


Bonnie Evans, The Metamorphosis of Autism: A History of Child Development in England (link is external) (Manchester University Press, 2017) 

Bonnie Evans, ‘The Foundations of Autism: The Law Concerning Psychotic, Schizophrenic and Autistic Children in 1950s and 1960s Britain’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 88.2 (link is external) (2014): 253-285.

Bonnie Evans, ‘How Autism Became Autism: The Radical Transformation of a Central Concept of Child Development in Britain’ (link is external),History of the Human Sciences (link is external) 26:3 (2013), 3–31.

Bonnie Evans and Edgar Jones, ‘Organ Extracts and the Development of Psychiatry: Hormonal Treatments at the Maudsley Hospital 1923-1938’ (link is external)Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (link is external) 48:3 (2012), 251-63.

Bonnie Evans, Shahina Rahman and Edgar Jones, ‘Managing the Unmanageable: Interwar Child Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital’ (link is external)History of Psychiatry (link is external) 19 (2008), 454-75.

Book reviews

Bonnie Evans, 'Review of Stephen Casper's The Neurologists: A History of a Medical Specialty in Modern Britain c. 1789-2000', History of the Human Sciences (link is external)

Bonnie Evans, ‘Review of Mitzi Waltz’s Autism: A Social and Medical History’, History of Psychiatry 25 (link is external)(2014): 381-383

Bonnie Evans, ‘Review of Matthew Smith’s Hyperactive: The Controversial History of ADHD and An Alternative  History of Hyperactivity: Food Additives and the Feingold Diet’, History of the Human Sciences (link is external) (2014 forthcoming).

Bonnie Evans, ‘Review of Chloe Silverman’s Understanding Autism’, Psychoanalysis and History (link is external) 15 (2013), 116-19.

Bonnie Evans, ‘Review of Richard Frank and Sherry Glied’s Better but not Well: Mental Health Policy in the United States since 1950’, Journal of Mental Health (link is external) 17:2 (April 2008), 225-27.

Editorial Positions 

Public Engagement

I participated in a debate at the London School of Economics Forum on 'Autism and Minds Wired for Science (link is external)' on 8th February 2016. I also have an article published on the LSE Forum website about my work (link is external).