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Agnes Arnold-Forster

Chancellor's Fellow, History of Medicine, Emotions and Modern British History, The University of Edinburgh

I am a writer and historian of healthcare, medicine, work, and emotions. My research spans Europe and North America from the eighteenth century to the present day, but my main area of expertise is modern and contemporary British healthcare. I am a Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

I received my PhD in Modern History from King's College London in 2017. My doctoral thesis has since been turned into a book, The Cancer Problem: Malignancy in Nineteenth-Century Britain, was published by Oxford University Press in January 2021. Since finishing my PhD, I worked as a research and engagement fellow on the Wellcome Trust funded project, 'Surgery & Emotion'. My second book, Cold, Hard Steel: The Myth of the Modern Surgeon, was published by Manchester University Press in 2023. My most recent book, Nostalgia: A History of a Dangerous Emotion, was published by Picador in April 2024.

I am a core collaborator on two Wellcome Trust Small Grants: Healthy Scepticism (Dr Caitjan Gainty, KCL) and Senses and Modern Health/care Environments (Dr Victoria Bates, Bristol). Healthy Scepticism hopes to shed new light on the position of medicine in a sceptical world and offer a critical perspective on scepticism as a form of critical engagement. Senses and Modern Health/care Environments is exploring opportunities for collaborative research in the sensory history of hospitals and other clinical settings.


  • 2021–present
    Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • 2020–2021
    Early Career Research Fellow, University of Bristol
  • 2021–2021
    Postdoctoral research fellow, McGill University
  • 2017–2020
    Research and Engagement Fellow, University of Roehampton


  • 2017 
    King's College London, PhD
  • 2013 
    Imperial College London, MSc
  • 2012 
    University of Oxford, BA