Dr Agnes Arnold-Forster
15-17 Tavistock Place
I am a historian of medicine, healthcare, work, and the emotions. I am currently a Research Fellow on Professor Martin Gorsky's strand of the Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award, Border Crossings, looking at the impact of endowed hospital charities on practice and policy in the NHS, 1948-2018.
I recieved my PhD from King's College London in late 2017, and my first book, The Cancer Problem, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. Since completing my PhD I have worked at UCL, the University of Roehampton, Queen Mary, University of London, and the University of Bristol. Most recently, I was a researcher in the Social Studies of Medicine Department at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
I have taught courses on the history of public health, chronic disease, disability, gender, and urban space.
At LSHTM I am teaching on the distance learning module, History and Health.
I am currently a Research Fellow on Professor Martin Gorsky's strand of the Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award, Border Crossings, looking at the impact of endowed hospital charities on practice and policy in the NHS, 1948-2018. The NHS is famously a state-run health service, yet it has always made space for some charitable activities. These include some of the wealthiest charities in the country. The boundaries between state-run and charitably-run activities have shifted over the decades. What difference do these unusual charitable actors make, and how should policy manage them in the future?
I am also currently co-PI on the project Healthy Scepticism. Funded by the Wellcome Trust and King's College London, this multimedia, multidisciplinary project seeks to know and contextualise those who have been placed or placed themselves outside of healthcare's formal limits. Tracking a chronology that stretches from the early twentieth-century dissenters of medical orthodoxy, to the critical, anti-establishment voices of the mid-century, and up to our current crisis, this project offers another way to tell the fraught history of modern medicine and healthcare.
As research and engagement fellow on the Wellcome Trust funded project, Surgery & Emotion (2017-2020), I investigated the contemporary history of surgeons' professional identity, wellbeing, and emotional distress. I published articles about nostalgia, grief, resilience, professional identity, and Covid-19. My second monograph, Cold, Hard Steel: The Surgical Stereotype Past & Present, is being published my Manchester University Press in early 2022.
My PhD thesis, and subsequent book, offers the first medical, cultural, and social history of cancer in nineteenth-century Britain. The Cancer Problem (OUP, 2021) argues that it was in the nineteenth century that the disease acquired the unique emotional, symbolic, and politicized status it maintains today.