Dr P Prior

School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work                                                         
Queen’s University Belfast 

School/Institute website address: www.qub.ac.uk/ssp/webpages/pauline.htm
E-mail address: p.prior@qub.ac.uk

Biography and Irish Studies research interests (revised August 2012)
Dr Pauline Prior is a senior lecturer in Social Policy at Queen’s University Belfast. She did her undergraduate degree at University College Cork, her Master’s degree (including a social work qualification) at the LSE, and her doctorate at theUniversity ofYork. Her research is mainly on issues in relation to mental health policy, including gender, law, and history, but also includes work on health policy in general. She teaches social policy, with specific courses on health and personal social services.

Although her work is not primarily on historical material, Dr Prior is currently engaged in research on the history of psychiatry/mental health care inIreland. Her work on gender and criminal lunacy in nineteenth centuryIrelandis of particular interest because it uncovers hitherto under-researched material on the intersection between law and medicine and on the impact of a label of criminal lunacy on individual men and women, many of whom had to leaveIrelandto embark on a new life. She has just completed an edited collection of historical articles on psychiatry and mental health services inIreland, with contributions from scholars of different disciplinary backgrounds – medicine, history, and sociology. This is due for publication from the Irish Academic Press in 2012.

In addition to the historical work listed below, her publications include numerous articles on mental health policy and the following books - Mental Health and Politics in Northern Ireland (Avebury Press, 1993); Gender and Mental Health, (London, Macmillan Press/New York University Press, 1999); Gender and Health Care in the UK (joint author with B. C. Hayes,Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003).

Selected publications


  • (2008) Madness and Murder: Gender, crime and mental disorder in nineteenth century Ireland. Dublin/Portland,Oregon: Irish Academic Press.
  • (2012) Asylums, Mental health care and the Irish 1800-2010, Dublin/Portland,Oregon: Irish Academic Press. (edited by P. Prior).

Articles/chapters in other publications

  •  (2010) ‘Psychiatry and the fate of women who killed infants and young children 1850-1900’, pp. 92-112, in C. Cox and M. Luddy (eds.) Cultures of care in Irish medical history 1750-1970, Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.
  •  (2009) ‘Emigrants or Exiles? Female ex-prisoners leaving Ireland1850-1900’, Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, 8: 30-47.
  •  (2006) ‘Roasting a man alive: The case of Mary Reilly, criminal lunatic’, Eire-Ireland, 41:1 & 2 (Spr/Sum): pp. 169-91).
  • (2005) ‘Murder and Madness: Gender and the use of the insanity defence in nineteenth-century Ireland’, New Hibernia Review, 9(4): 19-36.
  • (2004) ‘Prisoner or Patient? The Official Debate on the Criminal Lunatic in nineteenth Century Ireland’, History of Psychiatry, 15(2): 177-92.
  • (2003) ‘Dangerous Lunacy: The Misuse of Mental Health Law in nineteenth Century Ireland’, Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 14(3): 525-3.
  • (2003) ‘Crime, Mental Disorder and Gender in nineteenth Century Ireland’, in I. O’Donnell and F. McAuley (eds.) Criminal Justice History: Themes and Controversies from Pre-Independence Ireland,Dublin, Four Courts Press. pp. 66-82.
  • (1997) ‘The Chaplaincy Question: The Lord Lieutenant of Irelandversus the BelfastLunatic Asylum’, Eire-Ireland, 33 (2 & 3): 137-53. (Summer/Fall) (co-author, D.V.Griffiths) - reprinted in Prior (2012) Asylums, mental health care and the Irish 1800-2010.Dublin: Irish Academic Press.