Meet the editors: Kate Docking

Hi! Welcome to the blog of the Hamburg team working on the project ‘Taming the European Leviathan: The Legacy of Post-War Medicine and the Common Good’. This informal blog aims to provide an insight into not only our research, but also who we are. As such, we currently have a series entitled Dispatches from Hamburg which discusses our experiences of researching and writing history (and the challenges we have faced in doing so during a global pandemic), life in Hamburg, and even the historical figures we would most like to invite to a dinner party. In these strange and often difficult times, forging academic connections across countries and continents is especially important, and Dispatches from Hamburg is an open space for the sharing of thoughts and interests. 

Our first two Dispatches from Hamburg posts will introduce you to the editors of our blog. I’m Kate, and I’m a historian of twentieth century Europe. Before joining the team in Hamburg, I studied for my doctorate at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK, and completed a Master’s degree in Modern European History at the University of Cambridge. From a young age, I have always been fascinated by the lives of individuals and the choices they make, which led me to choose to study history at university.

My research interests have focused on the history of gender, everyday life, and medicine during the twentieth century in Europe. My doctoral project analysed the experiences of a group of female medical personnel who worked at Ravensbrück concentration camp during the Third Reich. I have recently had an article published in the journal German History which discusses the recruitment of three doctors to Ravensbrück. You can read the open-access article here.

I am currently working on a couple of related projects within the broader topic of medicine in post-war Europe. I am very interested in the personal connections neurologists hailing from different countries formed with one another in the post-war period, and how these interactions led not only to the forming of international scientific organisations, but also steadfast friendships. I am also examining the history of chemical cognitive enhancement in post-war Europe, with a focus on the phenomenon of so-called ‘study drugs’ such as Ritalin. Exploring the history of these drugs can help to influence policymaking regarding their use today, which is currently a contentious issue amongst scientists and governments. 

When I’m not researching, you can usually find me running (subject to being injury-free!). David and I are planning to run a marathon in Hamburg in the future! I’m also a keen walker, and love climbing mountains. Before the pandemic, I also travelled frequently, exploring cities all over Europe. As a vegan, I’m also passionate about animal welfare and ethics. I also love spending time with my sister’s adorable cat called Luna. 

Do feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the blog or if you would like to contribute. We would love to hear from you! You can e-mail me or find me on Twitter.


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