Mara Dougall

Mara Dougall


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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am a PhD candidate within the School of Humanities.  My PhD project is an interdisciplinary study combining Creative Writing and History of Medicine, and is being carried out under the supervision of Dr Liam Bell, (Lecturer in English Studies, University of Stirling) and Dr Laura Kelly (Senior Lecturer in History of Medicine, University of Strathclyde).  The project is funded by a University of Strathclyde scholarship and commenced in September of 2018.

My project investigates how historical fiction allows us to inhabit historical bodies, and what embodied narratives can tell us about the gendered experiences of a particular period. I am writing a novel, set in Oban, in the Spring of 1948 as the country’s health services headed towards nationalisation. It explores post-war politics, family and gender dynamics, and contemporaneous concerns around sex education and contraception.  The accompanying critical commentary expands on these themes, specifically interrogating representations of the female body and the medical gaze in early twentieth century literature and related historical fiction.  My analysis combines feminist criticism, narrative theory, and various body works.  I am also using my historical research to feed into inter-disciplinary community engagement activities on the history of healthcare and writing the body.

Conference Papers:

April 2019 - 'Inhabiting Historical Bodies', Talking Bodies conference, held at University of Chester Centre for Gender Studies

June 2019 - 'Making the Medicine Go Down', Creative Writing: Processes, Theory, Influences conference, held at University of Edinburgh School of Literatrues, Languages & Cultures

Fiction Publications:

Dec 2017 - Short Story, 'The Water Carriers', Mslexia (Issue 76)

Oct 2018 - Short Story, 'Copenhagen', thi wurd (Issue 3)

Research Interests

  • Historical fiction
  • Early twentieth century fiction
  • Practice-led analysis in creative writing
  • The history of contraception and reproductive health
  • The history of medical education and healthcare structures in Scotland
  • Gender studies
  • Body theory

My PhD project is titled 'Writing Unity: a practice-led exploration of female physicality in early twentieth century Britain.'  The main research output will be a historical novel set in Oban, 1948.  I am thus undertaking research into the history of Oban, and in particular Oban's old hospitals.  My research is being carried out in association with the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare, the Scottish Oral History Centre, and The Rockfield Centre (Oban).

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Research, University Of Strathclyde

Jan 2017Jun 2018

Award Date: 6 Nov 2018

Master of Arts, University Of Glasgow

Sep 2003May 2007

Award Date: 28 Jun 2007

Doctor of Philosophy, University Of Strathclyde

Sep 2018 → …


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