I am a political and social historian of modern Britain and the World, working on topics in the history of medicine and the environment.
I received my PhD in History from New York University in 2021. Before my doctoral studies, I gained an MA in Science, Technology, and Medicine in History from King's College London, and a BA in History from the University of Oxford. My research has been supported by fellowships and grants from organisations that include the American Philosophical Society, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the History & Political Economy Project.
- The history of modern Britain and its links with the wider world
- The history of medicine and the environment
- Political and social history
I am currently finishing my first book, on the history of the British National Health Service (NHS).
Our NHS: A History of Britain's Best Loved Institution (Yale University Press, forthcoming) is a political, social, and transnational history that considers why the service became tied to national identity and why it survived the rise of neoliberalism. In explaining the persistence of the NHS, my book calls attention to the endurance of social democracy in a nation where this form of politics is commonly depicted as vanquished after the 1980s. My interpretation challenges historical narratives - in British history and many other fields - that map the rising hegemony of neoliberalism in the late-twentieth century as well as a media portrayal of the NHS as gripped by a constant state of 'crisis'. Instead, I offer a way of thinking about how social democratic structures and values could acquire durability. Far from a plucky story of survival, the book also interrogates the consequences of swelling popular investment in the commonplace 'Our NHS'. I show how the growth of what I call 'welfare nationalism' both buttressed the NHS from free-market opposition and also created racialised exclusions for patients and staff hailing from overseas. The book scales from women's experiences of maternity wards, to everyday encounters in NHS health centres, to the institution's place in trans-Atlantic discussions about health reform, to the movement of Asian and Black medical professionals across former imperial borders. The book concludes by considering the cultural importance of the service in Britain today in events such as the celebration of its 'birthday'.
I am also beginning work for a second major research project in environmental history that will attend to the legacies of Britain's energy transition from coal. This work extends my existing interests in key industries and institutions in modern Britain and embedding them with wider political, social, and transnational processes.
You can follow me on Twitter @AndrewSeaton
Our NHS: A History of Britain's Best Loved Institution (Yale University Press, forthcoming).
Andrew Seaton, 'The Gospel of Wealth and the National Health: The Rockefeller Foundation and Social Medicine in Britain's NHS, 1945-60', Bulletin of the History of Medicine 94, no. 1 (2020): 224-241.
Andrew Seaton, 'Environmental History and New Directions in Modern British Historiography', Twentieth Century British History 30, no. 3 (2019): 447-456.
Andrew Seaton, ''Against the Sacred Cow': NHS Opposition and the Fellowship for Freedom in Medicine', Twentieth Century British History 26, no. 2 (2015): 424-449.