Dr Kate Mahoney

Post-Doctoral Research Assistant
Department of History
Dr Kate Mahoney



At secondary school, I was fortunate to have a teacher who demonstrated that history was about exploring huge social and cultural developments, and recognising change in everyday lives. I learnt that history could be both personal and political. By understanding others, we could also understand ourselves. I completed my BA in History and MA in Medical History at Cardiff University. I completed my PhD at the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick in 2017, before joining the University of Essex as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant. My research focuses on the intersection of radical politics, community-based organisations, womens health and mental health provision, and psychological and psychotherapeutic discourses in England from the late 1960s onwards. Of particular interest are the ways in which feminist activists have used psychotherapy and psychoanalysis to understand their own personal and political experiences, whilst also supporting individuals with mental health concerns. My interest in politics and self-identity extends to the research process, with a particular focus on the ways in which the emotions of researchers and research participants influence their engagement with historical narratives of feminism. My focus on mental health incorporates an interest in the influence of academic structures and practices on PhD experiences and students wellbeing. I am currently working as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant on the Wellcome Trust-funded project Body, Self and Family: Womens Psychological, Emotional and Bodily Health in Britain, c. 1960-1990 (2017-2020). This major project explores how social changes in postwar Britain influenced womens understandings of their bodily and emotional wellbeing. It examines womens experiences at different stages of the life cycle, their relationships to various sources of authority and expertise, and how the emergence of new reproductive and contraceptive technologies affected their lives. This project expands a focus on womens health that I developed during my PhD. My doctoral thesis provides the first in-depth examination of womens movement members interactions with psychological and psychotherapeutic discourses in England from 1968 to 1995. Using detailed case studies of Womens Liberation consciousness-raising and psychology groups, the London-based Womens Therapy Centre, and the mental health charity Mind, it traces the impact of womens movement politics on local and national health policy and practices. It reframes the history of mental health and community care by charting the influence of local organisations and political movements that operated beyond state-led services. Alongside the Body, Self and Family project, I am co-editing the volume 'Politics of Authenticity: Countercultures and Radical Movement Across the Iron Curtain, 1968-1989' (Berghahn Books, forthcoming) with Dr Joachim Häberlen (University of Warwick) and Dr Mark Keck-Szajbel (Europa Universität Viadrina).


  • PhD History Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick, (2017)

  • MA Medical History Cardiff University, (2012)

  • BA History Cardiff University, (2011)


University of Essex

  • Postdoctoral Research Assistant, History, University of Essex (2017 - present)

Other academic

  • Administrator, University of Warwick Feminist History Group (2016 - 2017)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Feminism and radical politics

Key words: Feminism

Gender, health and medicine

Community-based and voluntary organisations

Psychology and psychotherapy

Conferences and presentations

May 2016: 'Women, Mental Health and MIND: The Influence of Feminism on a Mental Health Charity', Feminist Review Early Careers Workshop (SOAS University of London);

London, United Kingdom, 2016

April 2016: 'The Liberating Possibilities of Psychotherapeutic Techniques: The Negotiation of Therapy and Politics in Women's Liberation Movement Psychology Groups in 1970s England', European Social Science History Conference (Universitat de València, Spain);

Valencia, Spain, 2016

July 2015: 'Finding Our Own Solutions: The Women's Liberation Movement and Mental Health Provision in Post-war England', Wolfson Postgraduate Scholars in the Humanities Symposium (British Academy, London);

London, United Kingdom, 2015

June 2015: 'The Political, Emotional and Therapeutic: Personal Histories of Consciousness-Raising in the English Womens Liberation Movement', New Subjectivities, New Emotions, New Politics: Oppositional Politics and Counter Cultures Across the Iron Curtain During the Long 1970s- International Workshop (Center for Interdisciplinary Polish Studies, Europe University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany). I also co-organised this event;

Frankfurt, Germany, 2015

July 2014: 'Historicising Consciousness-Raising: the Personal, the Political and Womens Mental Health', Situating Women's Liberation; Historicising a Movement (University of Portsmouth);

Portsmouth, United Kingdom, 2014

May 2014: 'One in every six women and one in every nine men: Second-wave feminism and mental health in post-war Britain', Warwick History Postgraduate Conference (University of Warwick);

Coventry, United Kingdom, 2014

January 2014: Emotion and the Feminist Researcher: Writing Histories of the Womens Liberation Movement, Emotion and the Researcher: Workshop 1 (Families, Identities and Research Network, Cardiff University);

Cardiff, United Kingdom, 2014

January 2014: The Personal is Political? Consciousness-Raising and Changing Definitions of Therapy in the British Womens Liberation Movement, 1969-1979, British Society for the History of Science 2014 Postgraduate Conference (University of Leeds);

Leeds, United Kingdom, 2014

June 2013: The Personal is Political? The Womens Liberation Movement and Contemporary Psychologies in Britain, 1960-1985: An Oral History Project, West of England and South Wales Womens History Network 20th Annual Conference: Women and Protest in a Historical Perspective (Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, Bath);

Bath, United Kingdom, 2013

March 2012: Were not beautiful or ugly. Were angry: Second-wave feminism and the social depictions of women in Britain, 1960-1980, Women and Media: Representations Past and Present (Queens University, Belfast).

Belfast, United Kingdom, 2012


Journal articles (4)

Loughran, T., Mahoney, K. and Payling, D., (2021). Women’s voices, emotion and empathy: engaging different publics with ‘everyday’ health histories. Medical Humanities

Mahoney, K., (2019). Race, Ethnicity and the Women’s Movement in England, 1968-1993. By Natalie Thomlinson. Twentieth Century British History. 30 (4), 624-627

Mahoney, K., (2018). Book Review Symposium: Rachel Thwaites and Amy Pressland (eds), Being an Early Career Feminist Academic: Global Perspectives, Experiences, and Challenges by Kate Mahoney. Sociology. 52 (1), 200-201

Mahoney, K., (2016). Historicising the ‘Third Wave’: narratives of contemporary feminism. Women's History Review. 25 (6), 1006-1013

Books (1)

Häberlen, JC., Keck-Szajbel, M. and Mahoney, K., (2018). The Politics of Authenticity Countercultures and Radical Movements across the Iron Curtain, 1968-1989. Berghahn Books. 1789200008. 9781789200003

Book chapters (2)

Mahoney, K., (2018). 'The Political, the Emotional and the Therapeutic: Narratives of Consciousness-Raising and Authenticity in the English Women's Liberation Movement'. In: The Politics of Authenticity Countercultures and Radical Movements across the Iron Curtain, 1968-1989. Berghahn Books. 65- 88. 1789200008. 9781789200003

Mahoney, K., (2018). ‘It’s Not History. It’s My Life’: Researcher Emotions and the Production of Critical Histories of the Women’s Movement. In: Emotion and the Researcher Sites, Subjectivities, and Relationships. Editors: Loughran, T. and Mannay, D., . Emerald Group Publishing. 65- 80. 178714612X. 9781787146129

+44 (0) 1206 873761


5NW.8.8, Colchester Campus