David Wright

David Wright
Contact Information
Email address: 
david.j.wright [at] mcgill.ca
Professor and Canada Research Chair

D.Phil. (Oxford)
B.A., M.A. (McGill)

Specialization by time period: 
1800 - 1900
1900 - Today
Specialization by geographical area: 
North America
Office hours: 

By Appointment


David Wright received his BA and MA in History from McGill University and his DPhil (in History) from the University of Oxford. As a post-doctoral research fellow at Oxford he specialized in the history of health and medicine before being appointed Wellcome Trust Lecturer in the History of Medicine at the University of Nottingham (1996-99).  In 1999, David returned to Canada to become the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at McMaster University, a cross-appointment between the medical school and the History department.  During his eleven years at McMaster, David was active in several administrative capacities, including Chair of the international Society for the Social History of Medicine (SSHM), Associate Dean (Vice-Dean) of the Faculty of Humanities, and Chair of McMaster’s University Curriculum Committee.

David joined the Department (in 2011) as Professor of History, cross-appointed to the Institute for Health and Social Policy (Faculty of Medicine). He has two areas of research interest.  For most of the past twenty years, he has researched and published on the history of mental disorders (with a particular expertise in the history of mental hospitals), resulting in several books and edited volumes.  More recently, he has led a research team investigating the transnational migration of physicians in the second half of the twentieth century.   He welcomes all expressions of interest from graduate students and post-doctoral applicants as he assembles an interdisciplinary research team spanning both Faculties.

Graduate supervision: 

social history of health and medicine; history of public health; history of medical institutions; history of madness and psychiatry, globalization of health human resources; history of global health initiatives

Selected publications: 

Book cover of "Doctors Beyond Borders" Book cover of "Sick Kids" Book cover of "Health and Medicine in the circum-Caribbean, 1800-1968" Book cover of "The Confinement of the Insane" Book cover of "Downs: the History of a Disability" Book cover of "From Idiocy to Mental Deficiency" Book cover of "Mental Disability in Victorian England" Book Cover of "Mental Health and Canadian Society" Book cover of "Outside the Walls of the Asylum" Book cover of "Histories of Suicide"


Publication files: 
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