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School of History

Dr Sarah Chaney


Research Fellow

Telephone: 020 7882 5893
Room Number: Graduate Centre 6.09


I am a part-time researcher on the “Living With Feeling” project in the Centre for the History of the Emotions, exploring compassion and nursing.  I completed my PhD at UCL in 2013, focusing on self-injury in late Victorian asylums. My background is in public engagement, and I also work as exhibitions and events manager at the Royal College of Nursing.


Research Interests:

I am currently researching the idea of compassion in British nursing: from models of charity, idealised motherhood and duty in the late nineteenth century to modern political debates around the NHS and nursing education. My previous research focused on the history of psychiatry and self-inflicted injury, and my monograph 'Psyche on the Skin’ was published in February 2017.

My research focuses on nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain and the USA, to include:
• The history of nursing and healthcare
• The history of self-inflicted injury and suicidal behaviour
• The social history of asylum psychiatry in Britain since 1800
• Patient narratives in mental health care and survivor history
• The history of normativity
• The history of emotions and emotional health


Public Engagement

Who Cares? A History of Emotions in NursingProject lead on exhibition at the Royal College of Nursing launched in January 2020.

I appeared on several radio programmes and newspaper pieces discussing the history of self-harm in 2017.

Membership of professional associations or societies:

  • Royal Historical Society
  • Museums Association
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