Menu Close
Professor Emerita, Classical Studies, The Open University

I studied Ancient History and Social Anthropology at UCL, where I also gained my PhD in History. I am a classicist and historian of medicine specialising in the history of obstetrics and gynaecology, and have worked at the universities of Cambridge, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Reading, before joining the Open University in 2011. I’ve also held visiting positions in Texas, British Columbia, Vienna and at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. My publications include a very short introduction to my central subject, ancient medicine: Greek and Roman Medicine (Bloomsbury, 2001), and I am currently completing a history of the female body for Profile Books.


  • 2017–present
    Emeritus professor, The Open University
  • 2011–2017
    Professor of Classical Studies , The Open University
  • 1996–2011
    Professor of the History of Classical Medicine, University of Reading
  • 1996–1998
    Sir James Knott Research Fellow, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • 1988–1996
    Lecturer in History, Liverpool Hope University College
  • 1983–1986
    Henry Sidgwick Junior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge Newnham College


  • 1985 
    UCL, PhD/History
  • 1980 
    UCL, BA/Ancient History and Social Anthropology


  • 2020
    Hippocrates Now: The Father of Medicine in the Internet Age, Bloomsbury
  • 2014
    ‘The Art of Medicine: Narratives of Healing: a new approach to the past?’ , The Lancet, 15 March
  • 2013
    The One-Sex Body on Trial: The Classical and Early Modern Evidence, Ashgate
  • 2011
    'Galen and the widow: Towards a history of therapeutic masturbation in ancient gynaecology’, EuGeStA: Journal on Gender Studies in Antiquity 1, 205-235
  • 2007
    Midwifery, Obstetrics and the Rise of Gynaecology, Ashgate
  • 2004
    The Disease of Virgins: Greensickness, Chlorosis and the Problems of Puberty, Routledge
  • 2001
    Greek and Roman Medicine, Bloomsbury
  • 1998
    Hippocrates' Woman: Reading the Female Body in Ancient Greece, Routledge
  • 1993
    Hysteria Beyond Freud (with Elaine Showalter, Roy Porter, George Rousseau and Sander Gilman, University of California Press

Grants and Contracts

  • 2011
    Funding Source:
    Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • 1996
    University Award
    Funding Source:
    Wellcome Trust