Dr Stephen Kenny PhD FHEA

Lecturer, 19th and 20th century North American History History

    Research

    My Research

    Slavery, 'Race', and Medicine in the Atlantic World - especially encounters between slaveholders, physicians, physician-slaveholders and slaves in the Deep South and the continuation of medical racism in the post-slavery era.

    Particularly interested in histories of human experiments under American slavery and how these experiments were enabled by various means:https://theconversation.com/statues-of-medical-racist-who-experimented-on-slaves-should-also-be-taken-down-82704

    The Conversation reports linked above and below highlight many of the core themes and issues explored my larger project:'How black slaves were routinely sold as specimens to ambitious white doctors'

    Research Supervision

    Welcome inquiries for postgraduate research (PhD and MRes) in modern American social and cultural histories, especially projects that plan to explore histories of bodies, health, medicine, power, 'race', or slavery. The University has multi-level research links with the University of Georgia, which include opportunities for postgraduate exchange (UGA-Liverpool PG Research Fellowships), hosts the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, and is home to a growing number of researchers working in the critical medical humanities.

    Working with Graeme Milne, Alex Buchanan, Deana Heath and Celia Donert, am a co-supervisor for the following postgraduate research students:
    Nicholas Fuqua, 'Landscapes of Slavery in Liverpool and Charleston'
    Beth Wilson (AHRC PhD studentship), 'Slavery and emotional health'
    Louise Roberts (History GTA) 'Displayed peoples in a post WW1 Imperial context'

    Working with Richard Huzzey and William Ashworth, was part of the supervisory team for:
    Joe Kelly, (ESRC CASE studentship, 2014) 'Supply Chains and Moral Responsibility: Slavery and Capitalism after British Emancipation' [completed 2017]
    Working with Michael Tadman, was a co-supervisor for:
    Andrea Livesey (ESRC PhD studentship), 'Sexual Violence in the Slaveholding Regimes of Louisiana and Texas' [completed August 2015]
    Working with Mark Peel and Graeme Milne, was a co-supervisor for:
    Emily Trafford (AHRC PhD studentship), ‘Where the Races Meet’:Racial Framing through Live Display at the American West Coast World’s Fairs, 1894-1916' [completed December 2015]

    Research Awards


    • Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship - Dark Medicine: racism, power and the culture of American slavery, Spring 2015
    • UGA-Liverpool Seed Grant – Slavery and the 19th century Atlantic economy, Spring 2015
    • U.S. Embassy London, United Kingdom Grant Program - Life and Limb: the toll of the American Civil War, Spring 2015
    • School of Histories, Languages and Cultures, Discretionary Award - Life and Limb: the toll of the American Civil War, Spring 2015
    • American Association for the History of Medicine Travel Award, Spring 2015
    • Reynolds Associates Research Fellowship in the History of the Health Sciences, The Historical Collections Unit of the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of
    Alabama at Birmingham, October 2013
    • Franklin-Liverpool Research Collaboration, University of Georgia, Spring 2013
    • AHRC Interdisciplinary Seminar Series for American Studies Researchers in the North-West: Skills Development, Networking, and Dissemination
    • Franklin International Scholars Program, University of Georgia, Summer 2012
    • Stanley Jackson Prize, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2012
    • Franklin International Faculty Exchange, (FIFE), Spring 2011
    • British Academy Overseas Conference Award, 2011
    • Watson-Brown Foundation Short Term Visiting Fellowship, Institute for Southern Studies, University of South Carolina, 2009
    • Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies Visiting Research Fellow, University of New Orleans, 2005
    • Institute for Southern Studies Visiting Research Fellow, University of South Carolina, 1999
    • Undergraduate dissertation prize, Department of American Studies, University of Hull, 1992

    Research Grants
    • Dark Medicine: racism, power and the culture of American slavery
    • Interdisciplinary Seminar Series for American Studies Researchers in the North-West: Skills Development, Networking and Dissemination
    • Supply Chains and Transnational Bonds: Slavery and Capitalism in Anti-Slavery Britain
    Research Collaborations

    Dr Deirdre Cooper Owens

    Project: The many legacies of Dr James Marion Sims
    External: Queens College City University New York

    2018-2019 will mark 170 years since Dr. James Marion Sims first repaired obstetrical fistulae on enslaved women in Alabama. Sims, known as "The Father of American Gynecology," rose to fame - and later infamy - because of his experimental medical surgical work on these and other enslaved patients. He included a carefully framed discussion of these experiments in his post-humously published autobiography, 'The Story of My Life' (1884), which charted his career journeys - from a 'frontier doctor' to the president of the American Medical Association. Sims received a number of honors during his lifetime and following his passing, most notably these include statues located in Central Park in New York, the Alabama Statehouse grounds, and at the state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina. Unfortunately, the lives of his enslaved experimental patients have - until recently - either been ignored or reduced to minor mentions in the annals of social and medical history.

    Historians Deirdre Cooper Owens (Queens College, CUNY), Stephen Kenny (University of Liverpool), and Samuel K. Roberts (Columbia University) are engaged in exploring the ramifications of racialized medicine, slavery, gender, and public memory in the era of Sims until the 20th century. Over the course of 2018-19, these scholars will host events to discuss the various dimesnions of Sims' legacy. The events will be located in NYC, Liverpool and a further site tba.

    Dr Benjamin Ehlers

    Project: 'Slavery, Cotton and the 19th-Century Atlantic Economy'
    External: Department of History, University of Georgia

    The project “Slavery and the 19th-Century Atlantic Economy” brings together the faculty, graduate students, and archival resources of these two trading hubs to
    demonstrate the continuing interdependence of slave and free societies in the era before the U.S.Civil War.
    Liverpool and Georgia are well-positioned as partners in this enterprise, due to their shared history as participants in the Atlantic World, the high degree of faculty and graduate student expertise in this area, and the richness of their collections. This collaboration promises to complement existing projects such as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (Emory) and the Slavery, Memory, Citizenship Initiative of the Harriet Tubman Institute (Toronto). Several ongoing projects at UGA, such as the People Not Property database and the Born Unfree investigation of WPA narratives, map the human geography of slaves and ex-slaves in the South. The Atlantic World collaboration will build upon this research by digitizing, cataloguing, and posting documents that illustrate the Atlantic connections between Georgia’s economy and the port of Liverpool. These collections will include the papers of the Georgia planter Gideon Denison (Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library, UGA); the Records of the U.S. Collector of Customs (Georgia Historical Society, Savannah); and the accounts of a Liverpool slave trader William Davenport (Merseyside Maritime Museum). A searchable and mappable database of these financial records will provide the basis for applications for external grants to expand the project to include other Atlantic ports such as Ghana, as well as potential partners in South America and the Caribbean.


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