Monthly Archives: July 2016

August Hours

Our opening hours during August will be as follows:

Tuesday 2nd August, 2.15-5pm
Thursday 4th August, 2-4.30pm
Tuesday 16th August, 2.15-5pm
Thursday 18th August, 2.15-5pm
Tuesday 30th August, 2.15-5pm

All other times, the Unit Library will be closed to visitors. We apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused by this. Students of the History of Medicine will find alternative collections which may be used at the Radcliffe Science Library, and the Bodleian Library Upper Reading Room.
If you wish to visit the Library, as ever please do contact us in advance – especially important over the summer break!
Summer Afternoon

Opening hours w/b 25 July 2016; August hours and farewell Danielle)

Next week our opening hours will be:

Tuesday, Wednesday: 2:15pm-5pm
Monday, Thursday: 2pm-4:30pm
Friday: Unstaffed

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Danielle, the History Faculty Library Graduate Trainee, who has been looking after the library over July; this will be her last week with us as she leaves to take up a new job at Royal Holloway, London.

Our hours following Danielle’s departure will therefore be Tuesday and Thursday afternoons every week apart from w/b 8th August, and w/b 22nd August. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during these reduced hours.

As always, please contact us if you would like to visit the library. We hope you have a fabulous weekend.

CFP – Gender and Pain in Modern History

Birkbeck, University of London
Public Conference: 24 – 25 March 2017

Call for Papers – Deadline 14 October 2016

In 2012, The Journal of Pain published a definitive study about the relationship between gender and pain, showing that for the vast majority of ailments, women reported significantly higher levels of pain (approximately twenty per cent higher) than men. In a variety of historical contexts, the female body has been associated with heightened sensitivity of various types. These images were borne out by cultural representations of female delicacy. However, female bodies have also been singled out for their ability to bear heightened pain, especially during childbirth. Representations of male stoicism (or perceived lack thereof) in the face of pain have also been a powerful image in many contexts. Women and men have long been thought to experience bodily sensations including discomfort and pain in a variety of culturally and historically specific ways: pain has routinely been gendered.

This two-day conference focuses on the historical relationship(s) between gender and pain between the early modern period and the present day. It aims to foster discussion among experts working on women’s history, the history of masculinity, and the history of gender; the history of science, health, and medicine; and the history of the body, with perspectives from a variety of national contexts and disciplinary backgrounds. Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Histories of female and/or male experiences of pain, including attention to uniquely female or male medical ailments or conditions
  • Attention to historical representations of pain as they relate to femininity or masculinity
  • Gendered experiences of emotional pain and trauma
  • Attention to the role of other categories including race, ethnicity, age, and class or mode of living as they relate to gendered experiences of pain
  • Intersections of pain and sexuality, including pain during intercourse, sadism and masochism
  • Intersections of pain and reproduction – attention to the history of pain during pregnancy and childbirth, and perceptions of fetal pain including during abortion
  • The effects of gender on engagement with medicine and medical practitioners
  • The responses of various medical and cultural communities to pain in women and in men
  • Pain, gender, and social relationships
  • Representations of gender, sensitivity, and pain in art, literature, film, and drama

Confirmed speakers include Professor Keith Wailoo, Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs (Princeton University), Professor Wendy Kline, Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine (Purdue University), and Dr Lisa Smith (University of Essex).

Please send abstracts of up to 350 words together with a brief (1 page) curriculum vitae to by October 14, 2016.

This conference is organized by Dr Whitney Wood and Professor Joanna Bourke, in affiliation with the Birkbeck Trauma Project. This event is supported by the Birkbeck Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. More information can be found at

The conference will be held at Birkbeck, University of London, located in Russell Square in central London. Following the conference, presenters will be invited to submit papers for a special journal issue or edited collection based on the conference themes.

Opening hours w/b 4 July 2016 (and welcome to Danielle)

Happy July! Next week our opening hours will be:

Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: 2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday: Unstaffed
Thursday, Friday: 2pm-4:30pm

We would also like to welcome Danielle to the library from next Tuesday. Danielle is the Graduate Trainee for the History Faculty Library, and will be working afternoons at the Wellcome Unit Library during the month of July.

As always, please get in touch if you would like to visit the library. We hope you have a very nice weekend.