I work on the history of modern Britain, with a particular interest in women’s history and the history of medicine. My recent research, which is now being transformed into a monograph with Manchester University Press, has examined how anxiety about maternal mental health played out in healthcare debates and social campaigns in the late twentieth century. I have argued that the creation of maternal mental health as an object of concern was not neutral, but rather served to legitimise and entrench the preoccupations of social and medical actors in postwar Britain. Popular anxiety over maternal mental health was made possible by the rise of the social sciences and the spread of survey mechanisms, allowing me to tell a bigger story of how such developments shaped issues of public concern.

My current research explores the history of student mental health in Britain, historicising the current ‘crisis’ in undergraduate mental wellbeing. I have published on the history of abortion and the history of the Women’s Liberation Movement. More generally, I am interested in the history of feminism, the history of the NHS, and the history of social movements.

Before taking up a lectureship at Swansea I was the Sir Christopher Cox Junior Fellow at New College, University of Oxford. I completed my Wellcome Trust-funded PhD at Queen Mary University of London in 2016, after doing an AHRC-funded Mst in Women’s Studies at Keble College, Oxford, and an undergraduate degree at the University of Sussex.

I teach on a number of modules here at Swansea and I am happy to discuss supervision on areas related to the history of medicine, the history of feminism, or the history of psychiatry.

Publications

  1. Crook, S. Historicising the “Crisis” in Undergraduate Mental Health: British Universities and Student Mental Illness, 1944–1968. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 75(2), 193-220.
  2. Crook, S. The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain. Contemporary British History, 1-24.
  3. Crook, S. ‘A disastrous blow’: psychiatric risk, social indicators and medical authority in abortion reform in post-war Britain. Medical Humanities, 46(2), 124-134.
  4. Crook, S. The women’s liberation movement, activism and therapy at the grassroots, 1968–1985. Women's History Review, 27(7), 1152-1168.
  5. Kasstan, B. & Crook, S. Reproductive Rebellions in Britain and the Republic of Ireland: Contemporary and Past Abortion Activism and Alternative Sites of Care. Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics, 2(2)
    http://www.lectitopublishing.nl/download/reproductive-rebellions-in-britain-and-the-republic-of-ireland-contemporary-and-past-abortion-3885.pdf

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Teaching

  • HI-M39 Research Folder

    This module is designed to help students to identify a dissertation topic appropriate to their interests and expertise, and to tackle the problems of methodology, develop the research techniques, and undertake the project planning which are the necessary preliminaries to researching and writing a 20,000 word dissertation.

  • HI-M80 Directed Reading in History

    Under the guidance of an expert supervisor, students analyse developments in research and historiography relating to a topic in History which they choose from a wide range of options.

  • HI-M82 Feminism and Queer Activism in Postwar Britain

    This module will explore feminist and queer activism in Britain in the years following the Second World War. Focusing on two liberation movements ¿ the women¿s liberation movement and the gay liberation movement ¿ it will look at the key areas around which activists mobilised, including the family, work, and sexuality. It will look at the ideas and key debates that shaped activism in the late twentieth century, encouraging students to investigate why feminist and gay activism emerged in the postwar period; to understand the strategies that feminist and LGBTQ movements used to agitate for change; and to think about how class and race have intersected with liberation campaigns. The module concentrates on Britain but draws out global connections, putting British movements in a broader context. Following two initial sessions on sources and methodologies, the module is structured into three parts. In the first sessions, students are introduced to the key developments of the 1950s and the 1960s and are encouraged to think critically about the organising concepts of radical histories. In the ensuing weeks, students explore the drivers, debates, and legacies of the women¿s liberation movement. Following this, we investigate the gay liberation movement and AIDS activism. Finally, the module concludes with a reflection on feminist and LGBTQ visibility in the 1990s. Students are encouraged to make use of the rich digitised and archival source material available on these topics, including the collection on the women¿s liberation movement housed at the West Glamorgan Archive as well as the materials available at the Miners¿ Library.

  • HI-M88 Modern Medical Bodies: Major themes in the History of Modern Medicine

    This module examines the changing conditions, roles, representations, and uses of bodies in modern medicine. It examines how historians have made the body a central focus of research to explore the interconnections of medical ideas, institutions and practices with histories of modern world and to address core problems of medicalisation, power, class, race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and empire. Surveying the intersections of bodies, medicine, and modernity, students taking this module will develop critical grounding in major themes, controversies and approaches in the history of modern medicine.

  • HIH121 Europe of Extremes: 1789 - 1989

    The nineteenth century saw the rise of a western European civilization, characterized, as Eric Hobsbawm has noted, by capitalist economics, liberal politics, and the dominance of a middle class that celebrated morality and science. In the twentieth century this civilization faced unprecedented challenges from new political ideologies, and from a working class demanding the right to govern in its own name. The result was an eruption of violence not seen on the continent for centuries; in its wake, the Cold War divided the Europe with an Iron Curtain, and saw the continent become the client of two world superpowers ¿ the USA and the Soviet Union. This team-taught module relies on the specialist knowledge of its tutors to examine economic, political and social themes in the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe.

  • HIH122 Making History

    History is an imprecise art and what historians say and write about the past is not the same as what actually happened in the past. Most people's knowledge about the past doesn't come from professional historians at all but rather from 'public history'. Public history is the collective understandings of the past that exist outside academic discipline of history. It is derived from a diverse range of sources including oral traditions, legends, literature, art, films and television. This module will introduce you to the study and presentation of the past. It will consider how the content, aims and methods of academic and public history compare and contrast and you will engage in your own small research project to investigate this. The module will also teach you about the fundamentals of studying and writing history at university. You will learn about essay writing, group work and critical analysis and employ these skills to understand and assess history today, both as an academic activity and as public knowledge.

  • HIH124 Modern British History

    This module explores the broad sweep of the history of the United Kingdom since its modern creation in 1801. It brings together different approaches from political, economic, social and cultural history to consider the different ways the history of a nation can be studied. At the module's heart are questions of what constitutes a nation and the extent to which British society can be considered to be unified.

  • HIH237 The Practice of History

    The purpose of the module is to encourage you to think more deeply about how historians work and, in particular, about how we as historians can locate and use primary historical sources effectively as a means of interpreting and understanding the past. During the module we will learn about the survival of historical evidence, how it is organised and made accessible to historians to undertake their research, and how to effectively locate and interpret it in your studies. We will consider how the process of doing historical research changes over time, in particular with the impact of recent developments like digitization. At the core of the module will be the work you undertake with others in your seminar group using a range of primary sources which your seminar tutor will introduce to you. As part of the module assessment you will also undertake your own primary source based research project using items from these collections. The module is designed strengthen your analytical skills and to help prepare you for the more extensive uses of primary evidence which you will encounter in final year special subjects and dissertation.

  • HIH3300 History Dissertation

    The History dissertation is a free-standing, 40-credit module that runs across both semesters of Level Three. Candidates conduct research upon a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of staff teaching for the degrees in History, and concerning a topic that falls within staff research and teaching interests.

  • HIH3319 A History of Violence

    Violence has played a key role in European and world history. This module will explore how cultures of violence have developed from antiquity to modernity. Beginning with Ancient Greece and ending in the twentieth century, this module will chart the changing practice of violence. It will examine how attitudes towards the practice and representation of violence have changed over centuries. Students will explore different aspects of violence, including state sponsored and interpersonal forms. Topics will include warfare, ritual violence such as the dual, criminal violence and state violence, such as judicial torture and executions. A particular theme of the module will be the increasing state monopolization of violence. Students will be introduced to the theoretical literature on organized and individual violence and be challenged to draw comparisons from different epochs. The course questions whether, as has recently been argued, humanity is becoming less violent.

  • HIH3377 A History of Sex and Gender

    This module explores the history of sex and gender across a multitude of sites since the Medieval period, examining how and why understandings and ideologies changed. This module looks at the history of sex and gender from a social and cultural perspective, drawing out connections with class and race. It explores how ideas of masculinity and femininity have changed over time, how gender has impacted on social, economic and political life, and how dominant ideologies of gender relate to the experience of men¿s and women¿s daily lives. The module will also analyse changing attitudes towards sexuality and demonstrate how modern sexual identities are the product of historical processes rather than fixed and unchanging. Students will be introduced to the key historiographical debates around the history of gender and to the core challenges that drive historians while researching these vital themes.

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
September 2016 September 2018 Sir Christopher Cox Junior Fellow New College, University of Oxford