Dr Sarah Chaney

Research Project Manager (Public Engagement)

Location Graduate Centre, 6.09

Email: s.chaney@qmul.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 5893

I completed my PhD at UCL in 2013, focusing on self-inflicted injury in late nineteenth-century British asylum psychiatry. My background is in museums and public engagement.  I am part-time project manager (public engagement) on the 'Living with Feeling' project, and I also run the events and exhibitions programme at the Royal College of Nursing.


My research focuses on self-inflicted injury, and my monograph 'Psyche on the Skin’ was published in early 2017. This expands on my thesis to include several models of self-inflicted injury proposed in the twentieth century. I argue that a historical approach to the topic shows that explanations for self-injurious acts cannot be seen outside their social and cultural context, and thus that no universal explanation of self-harm is possible.

My research focuses on nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain and the USA, to include:

  • 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 (including the survivor movement and survivor history)
  • The history of psychotherapy from 1800
  • Malingering in the history of medicine

Membership of professional associations or societies