Alison Winter

Professor of History, the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and the College; Member of the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge
PhD 1993 University of Cambridge

Social Science Research Building, room 206 – Office
(773) 834-7571 – Office telephone
(773) 702-7550 – Fax

Mailing Address

The University of Chicago
Department of History
1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Field Specialties

History of science and medicine since 1700; history of human sciences; modern British history and Victorian studies; gender; history of intellectual authority and popular culture; human sciences and the law


Alison Winter is professor of history at the University of Chicago. She is a member of the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science and of the Committee on the History of Culture. Her interests include the history of sciences of mind (and more broadly the human sciences) since the eighteenth century, the history of modern medicine, the historical construction of orthodoxy and heterodoxy in the sciences and medicine, modern British history (especially Victorian studies) and historical issues of gender. Her first book developed a social and cultural history of mesmerism in Victorian Britain. Her current research focuses on the scientific study and medical extraction of memory in America and Britain.


Memory: Fragments of a Modern History. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2012.

  • Gordon J. Laing Award, The University of Chicago Press

"Screening Selves: Sciences of Identity and Memory on Film." History of Psychology (November 2004).

"The Chemistry of Truth and the Literature of Dystopia." In Literature, Science, Psychoanalysis, 1830–1970: Essays in Honour of Gillian Beer, edited by Helen Small. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

"Harriet Martineau." In Dictionary of Literary Biography: British Reform Writers 1832–1914, edited by G. Kelly. Washington, DC: Bruccolli Clark Layman, 1998.

Mesmerized: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

"A Calculus of Suffering: Ada Lovelace and the Corporeal Constraints on Women's Knowledge in Early Victorian England." In Science Incarnate: The Physical Presentation of Intellectual Selves, edited by Christopher Lawrence and Stephen Shapin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

"The Construction of Orthodoxies and Heterodoxies in the Early Victorian Life Sciences." In Victorian Science in Context, edited by B. Lightman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1997.

With Anne Joseph. "Making the Match: The Hunt for Human Traces, the Scientific Expert, and the Public Imagination." In Cultural Babbage: Technology, Time, and Invention, edited by Francis Spufford and Jenny Uglow, 193–214. London: Faber and Faber, 1996.

"Harriet Martineau and the Reform of the Invalid in Victorian England." Historical Journal 38, no. 3 (September 1995): 597–616.

"Compasses All Awry: The Iron Ship and the Ambiguities of Cultural Authority in Victorian England." Victorian Studies (Autumn 1994): 69–98.

"Mesmerism and Popular Culture in Early Victorian England." History of Science 32, no. 96 (September 1994): 317–343.

"Ethereal Epidemic: Mesmerism and the Introduction of Inhalation Anaesthesia to Early Victorian London." Social History of Medicine 4 (1991): 1–27.