Dr Anne Hanley FRHistS

Dr Anne Hanley

Institute of Applied Health Research
Senior Research Fellow
UKRI Future Leaders Fellow

Contact details

Social Studies in Medicine
Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Hanley is a historian of medicine and modern Britain and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, with particular interest in the history of sexual and reproductive health. Her publications span a broad range of topics in medicine, welfare and sexuality during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In recent years, her research and teaching have become increasingly interdisciplinary, drawing on models and frameworks within the wider medical humanities.

With the support of a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship, she and her research team are mapping Britain’s sexual-health histories from the First World War to the AIDS crisis, exploring the complex personal, social, cultural and political factors that shaped people’s health experiences and outcomes. This work is underpinned by her expertise in sexual health and her belief that history and the humanities have crucial roles to play in overcoming health challenges today.

Dr Hanley has held a range of grants and awards from the UKRI, AHRC, Wellcome Trust, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and University of Sydney.


  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, 2018
  • Higher Education Teaching Qualification, SEDA, 2017
  • PhD in History, 2014
  • BA (Hons) in History and English, 2009


Dr Hanley holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and was formerly a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and then Lecturer in History of Science and Medicine and Co-Director of the MA Medical Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Hanley is available to supervise and co-supervise historical and interdisciplinary projects on health and medicine, especially sexual and reproductive health.


Dr Anne Hanley leads the project Histories of Sexual Health in Britain 1918 - 1980, an interdisciplinary project supported by the UKRI. It traces our sexual-health histories from the end of the First World War to the beginning of the AIDS crisis and brings those histories to bear on health challenges and inequalities facing us today.

Other activities

Dr Hanley is a member of the Oral History Society and an ex officio member of the Executive Committee of the Society for the Social History of Medicine. She is also one of the series editors for Social Histories of Medicine, published with Manchester University Press.

In the past she has sat on the Outreach and Engagement Committee for the British Society for the History of Science. She was a historical consultant for the Thackray Medical Museum’s £4 million redevelopment project and has also consulted on and been a guest on a range of TV and radio programmes, including Victoria (ITV) and Women’s Hour (BBC Radio).



Hanley, A. and Meyer, J. (eds) (2021), Patient Voices in Britain, 1840–1948. Manchester University Press, 2021.

Hanley, A. (2017), Medicine, Knowledge and Venereal Diseases in England, 1886–1916. Palgrave.


Hanley, A. (2022) ‘Migration, racism and sexual health in postwar Britain’, History Workshop Journal, 94, pp. 202–222

Hanley, A. (2022) ‘Histories of “a loathsome disease”: Sexual health in modern Britain’, History Compass.

Hanley, A. (2020) ‘“Sex Prejudice” and Professional Identity: Women Doctors and their Patients in Britain’s Interwar VD Service’Journal of Social History, 54:2, pp. 569–98.

Hanley, A. (2017), ‘Syphilisation and its Discontents: Experimental Inoculation against Syphilis at the London Lock Hospital’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 91:1, pp. 1–32.

Hanley, A. (2015), ‘Venereology at the Polyclinic: Postgraduate Medical Education among General Practitioners in England, 1899–1914’, Medical History, 59:2, pp. 199–221. Journal of Social History, 54:2, pp. 569–98.

Hanley, A. (2014), ‘“Scientific Truth into Homely Language”: The Training and Practice of Midwives in Ophthalmia Neonatorum, 1895–1914’, Social History of Medicine, 27:2, pp. 199–220.

Book Chapters

Hanley, A. and Meyer, J. (2021), ‘Introduction: Searching for the Patient’, Hanley, A. and Meyer, J. (eds), Patient Voices in Britain, 1840–1948. Manchester University Press, 2021, pp. 1– 29.

Hanley, A. (2021), ‘“I caught it and yours truly was very sorry for himself”: mapping the emotional worlds of British VD patients’, Hanley, A. and Meyer, J. (eds), Patient Voices in Britain, 1840–1948. Manchester University Press, 2021, pp. 299–337.

Hanley, A. (2017), ‘“The Great Foe to the Reproduction of the Race”: Diagnosing and Treating Venereal Diseases-Induced Infertility, 1880–1914’, Loughran, T. and Davis, G. (eds), Infertility in History: Approaches, Contexts and Perspectives. Palgrave, pp. 335–58.

Opinion Pieces

Hanley, A. (22 February 2020), ‘Lies, damned lies, and racist statistics’, History Workshop Online.

Hanley, A. (15 January 2020), ‘Protection or control? The debate over emergency contraception’, History & Policy.

Hanley, A., and Hussey, K. (20 September 2018) ‘Women still fighting to get their dues in the medical profession’, Guardian.

Hanley, A. (16 October 2017) ‘ITV’s Victoria illustrates how 19th-century sexism helped syphilis to spread’, Guardian.

Hanley, A. (2 October 2017) ‘Why last night’s VD-laced episode of Victoria should worry modern audiences’, Guardian. 

View all publications in research portal