Dr Catherine Jones

Dr Catherine Jones
MA, PhD (Cambridge)

Senior Lecturer

Dr Catherine Jones
Dr Catherine Jones

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273759
The University of Aberdeen Taylor, B9


Catherine Jones is Senior Lecturer in English and Coordinator of the University of Aberdeen's Centre for Medical Humanities.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge, she taught British and American Literature at the National University of Ireland, Galway (1997-99), before moving to the University of Aberdeen to hold the posts of Lecturer (2000-13) and Senior Lecturer (2013-). She has also worked as a Visiting Scholar at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia (2004).

She has published widely in the area of eighteenth-century and Romantic literature and culture. Her most recent book, Literature and Music in the Atlantic World, 1767-1867 (Edinburgh University Press, 2014), won the annual book prize of the British Association for American Studies. She is a past president of the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society (2014-16).

She is currently working on the historiography of anatomy, medicine and science in the Northern European Atlantic World, c.1650-c.1800. In 2017-18 she will hold a Royal Society of Edinburgh / Caledonian Research Fund European Visiting Research Fellowship and a Leverhulme Trust International Academic Fellowship at the Scaliger Institute, Leiden University.  

She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Research Interests

* Enlightenment and Romantic literature and culture

* Walter Scott and his circle

* Literature and the other arts

* History of the Atlantic world / the Atlantic in global history

* Medical humanities

Current Research

She is currently researching the historiography of anatomy, medicine and science in the Northern European Atlantic World, c. 1650-c.1850. Her immediate focus is the anatomical theatres of Leiden (established 1594) and Edinburgh (established 1697). She seeks to investigate the relationship between writing on anatomical practice and its history and philosophies of human nature as presented in the arts and sciences of the Enlightenment in the Netherlands, Scotland and the wider Atlantic world. She aims to show how the interplay of ideas and genres in writing on anatomical practice contributed to individual and collective understandings of the past and to the emergence -- in the context of a new Enlightenment sociability and the concept of a public it generated -- of the modern field of medical ethics.

Other work in progress includes an article on 'Antiquarianism, Medicine and the Scottish Enlightenment', which focuses on the writing of the Edinburgh physician and founder of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Sir Robert Sibbald; and an article on 'Discourses of Heath and Disease in the "Promotion" Literature of New Netherland and Early New York', which examines the circulation of ideas about environment and health in the Dutch Atlantic settlements and the middle colonies of British America.

Recent Research

A main strand of her recent research concerns the international influence of Scottish medical ideas upon literary practice, and the development of medico-literary genres. She contributed a chapter on 'Benjamin Rush, Edinburgh Medicine and the Rise of Physician Autobiography' to a volume on Scottish Medicine and Literary Culture, 1726-1832, edited by Megan Coyer and David E. Shuttleton (2014), and a chapter on 'Tobias Smollett, Travel Writing and Medical Botany' to a volume on The Scottish Enlightenment and Literary Culture, edited by Ralph McLean and Ronnie Young (2016). A chapter on 'Writer-Physicians' is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, edited by David Duff (2017).

Her most recent book is Literature and Music in the Atlantic World, 1767-1867 (2014). The research for the book was funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and the British Academy. The book begins by examining the attitudes to music and its performance of leading figures of the American Enlightenment and Revolution, notably Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, and the attempts of Francis Hopkinson and others to harness the Orphean power of music so that it should become a progressive force in the creation of a new society. The book argues that the association of rhetoric and music that reaches back to classical Antiquity acquired new relevance and underwent new theorisation and practical application in the American Enlightenment in light of revolutionary Atlantic conditions. It goes on to consider changes in the relationship of rhetoric and music in the nationalising milieu of the nineteenth century in Europe and North America; the connections of literature, music and music theory to changing models of subjectivity; and Romantic appropriations of Enlightenment visions of the public ethical function of music.

Previous books include a monograph on Walter Scott's engagement with the medico-philosophical discourses of the Scottish Enlightenment, Literary Memory: Scott's Waverley Novels and the Psychology of Narrative (2003); and the collection of essays, Scotland, Ireland, and the Romantic Aesthetic, co-edited with David Duff (2007).


She is a collaborator in the Romantic National Song Network, led by Professor Kirsteen McCue, University of Glasgow, and funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2017-18).

Research Grants

She has received grants from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (2003, 2009, 2012, and 2013) and from the British Academy (2004-6) for her research on literature and music in the Atlantic world. She was also awarded a grant from the Wellcome Trust in support of the 2013 annual conference of the Association for Medical Humanities, held in Aberdeen on the theme of 'Global Medical Humanities'.


Teaching Responsibilities

Her current undergraduate teaching includes five English courses: Literature and Medicine; American Insurrections: Writing, Self and Nation, 1776-1865; RomanticismUnion, Enlightenment and Modernity: Scottish Literature 1750-1850; and The Tragedy of Knowledge. She also contributes to the teaching of the taught MLitt in English Literary Studies.

Further Info

External Responsibilities

She is a Board Member of the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society.

Admin Responsibilities

She is an Academic Line Manager in the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture, and Programme Coordinator of the intercalated BSc degree in Medical Humanities.

Supervision of Research Students

She welcomes inquries from potential research students interested in pursuing work in the fields of eighteenth-century and Romantic studies, literature and the other arts, and medical humanities.

Recently completed and successfully examined research student work under her supervision:

PhD: '"Fine old castles" and "pull-me down works": Architecture, Politics and Gender in the Gothic Novel of the 1790s'.  

PhD: '"Pulled Hither and Thither": The Conflict Between Creativity and Economic Circumstance in the Selected Prose Work of Herman Melville'. 

PhD: 'An Imperial Enlightenment? Notions of India and the Literati of Edinburgh, 1723-1791'.

The Centre for Medical Humanities

The University of Aberdeen's Centre for Medical Humanities was established in 2009 to provide a focus for the development of research, teaching, and public engagement activities in the field of medical humanities. For further information on the Medical Humanities courses that form part of the MB ChB degree, see: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/medical/humanities/



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