Researcher: James Grannell

James is a PhD student who was awarded an MA in the Social and Cultural History of Medicine in 2014. His thesis was titled ‘This great black plague’: The Treatment of Congenital Syphilis in Four Dublin Hospitals, 1917-1927. His current research explores the impact of HIV/AIDS on men’s health in Ireland.

Project: Community responses to HIV Aids in the Republic of Ireland, 1982-1992

My project examines the impact of HIV/AIDS on the development of men’s health provision in Ireland from 1983 to 1990. It examines the treatment of three groups of men: homo/bisexuals, haemophiliacs, and intravenous drug users. It investigates political, medical, and social reactions to HIV/AIDS in Ireland and explores the efforts of sufferers and advocacy groups to combat the disease, and shape the narrative around it. The response to HIV/AIDS in Ireland is situated within the context of international efforts to halt the spread of the disease and adequately treat those already infected. The project draws on Dáil and Seanad debates, departmental publications, memoirs, media reports, as well as publications from voluntary and political organisations who campaigned around issues affecting HIV/AIDS patients in Ireland. The social and cultural meanings of the disease are explored, and focus is given to the stigma attached to sufferers. The development of medical and lay responses to HIV/AIDS is analysed for its impact on the wider provision of men’s health services in Ireland.   

Research Questions:

1)    What was the political response to HIV/AIDS in Ireland and what factors shaped this response?

2)  How were homo/bisexuals, haemophiliacs, and IV drug users portrayed and targeted by HIV/AIDS campaigns?

3)    Did narratives of guilty and innocent HIV/AIDS patients affect the campaigns aimed at the general public and “at risk groups”?

4)  How did the response to HIV/AIDS impact the development of men’s health provision in Ireland?


Research Interests include:

The history of sexuality and sexual health.

Health provision for marginalised groups within society.

The intersection of morality and illness.

The representation of illness in art and literature.

The social and cultural history of medicine.


Supervisor: Associate Professor Catherine Cox