Sarah Phelan

Phelan 100x100



Medical Humanities Research Centre,  

University of Glasgow



Sarah Phelan is currently an Affiliate of the Medical Humanities Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, having completed her PhD in Medical Humanities there in 2018. Prior to this, she received a BA in English and Philosophy (2008) and an MA in English in Modernities (2009) from University College Cork, Ireland. During this time, she was awarded Second Prize in the Dr H. H. Stewart Literary Scholarship in English (2006) from the National University of Ireland as well as an Undergraduate College Scholarship (2006) and the Title of College Scholar (2008) from University College Cork. She completed an MSc in the History and Theory of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh in 2012, for which she received an University of Edinburgh UK/EU Masters Scholarship to fund course fees. From 2013 to 2018, she undertook a PhD in Medical Humanities at the University of Glasgow which was funded by a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith PhD scholarship and supervised by Dr Gavin Miller (English Literature) and Prof Chris Philo (Geographical and Earth Sciences). For her PhD, she researched the personal papers of the Scottish psychiatrist and first Professor of Psychological Medicine (1948-1973) at the University of Glasgow, Thomas Ferguson Rodger (1907-1978) which are held at the University of Glasgow Archives. She also undertook recorded oral history interviews with Rodger’s family and former colleagues which have been submitted to the School of Scottish Studies Sound Archive at the University of Edinburgh. Her thesis reconstructs Rodger’s psychiatric approach within the changing ‘spaces’ of twentieth-century psychiatry. She has published and forthcoming articles in History of Psychiatry, History of the Human Sciences and Cultural Geographies and book reviews in the Journal of Historical Geography and History of Psychiatry. She was the administrator for the Medical Humanities Research Centre at Glasgow from January 2018 to November 2019. Her current research interests include medical humanities, the history of psychiatry, the history and theory of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, biography, archives, and the history of dreaming. She is a member of the Asylum and Post-Asylum Spaces Group at the University of Glasgow, the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research, the Arts Health Early Career Research Network and the Network of Cultural Dreams Studies.


Contact details

Institutional Address:

Dr Sarah Phelan, 

Medical Humanities Research Centre,

5 University Gardens,

Glasgow, G12 8QQ, Scotland

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Publication on the dream and related topics

Peer-Reviewed Articles

„A Walk 21/1/35“: a psychiatric-psychoanalytic fragment meets the new walking studies. In: Cultural Geographies (2020), pp. 1-19 (ed. with Chris Philo). Advance Online Publication.

 A ‚Commonsense‘ Psychoanalysis: Listening to the Psychosocial Dreamer in Interwar Glasgow Psychiatry. In: History of the Human Sciences (2020), pp. 1-27. Advance Online Publication.



Reconstructing a Twentieth-Century Scottish Psychiatrist: Thomas Ferguson Rodger, “Wartime Psychiatry”, “Eclecticism”, and "Mad Dreaming". PhD thesis, University of Glasgow, 2018.