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Dr Coreen McGuire


I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy and work as part of a team on The Life of Breath Project. My work for the project focuses on the historical use of the spirometer in measuring and assessing lung capacity, and its role in creating a definition of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  As an interdisciplinary project combining the philosophy of science and technology with medical history, this work will trace the epistemic authority of the spirometer and explore the problem of mechanical objectivity vs individual subjectivity in a historical context.

The role of measurement and standardisation in creating categories of disability and disease was also a key component of my PhD thesis, which I completed at the University of Leeds in 2016. Titled, 'The “Deaf Subscriber” and the shaping of the British Post Office’s Amplified Telephones 1918-1939’ –this work centred on the development of amplified telephones during the inter-war years. Some of this research is included in my chapter  ‘ Inventing amplified telephony: the co-creation of aural technology and disability' in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939 (Manchester University Press, 2017)

I am interested in public engagement, and investigating how history and historical objects can be used to facilitate improved communications between practitioners, patients, and academics. Previously, I have been involved with outreach projects with the Thackray Medical Museum, the Museum of HSTM, the BeCurious Festical, and recently appeared on Radio 4 women's hour to discuss the importance of unknown women to science, specifically pioneering audiologist Dr Phyllis Kerridge. Recording available at  

I have a personal twitter account @coreen_anne  



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