Personal profile

Research interests

Paula Michaels’ work bridges the histories of Eastern and Western Europe, integrating the USSR into a pan-European and global narrative through the study of social and cultural history. More recently her research has reached into the histories of North America and Australia.

Michaels is especially interested in the ways that medicine is mobilised to further political and social objectives. She is currently pursuing two major projects.

  • Trauma and Birth: A Twentieth-Century History takes a comparative approach toward the histories of childbirth in the US, UK, and USSR to ask whether the aftermath of traumatic experiences--clinically codified today as post-traumatic stress disorder--can be understood as a transhistorical, transcultural phenomenon. Despite being safer, is birth today more traumatic for women, thirty per cent of whom show some symptoms of PTSD six weeks after birth? Are women’s experiences of emotional distress during and after childbirth analogous to those a century ago? Is psychological birth trauma experienced and expressed—in the mind and in the body—in ways that suggest continuity or change over time?

  • Physicians in the Global Antinuclear Movement, 1961-1991 will analyze the influential and enduring role played by physicians in the fight against nuclear war. This book will engage questions of civil society, citizen diplomacy, and political activism in a comparative, transnational framework. With a focus on physician antinuclear activism in the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union, The Final Epidemic asks: how did physicians draw on their medical expertise to make the case against nuclear war? How did they leverage their professional reputations and the public’s trust to gain support for their political agenda? What role did international medical networks play in the peace movement? 

Supervision interests

Michaels welcomes inquires from potential honours and postgraduate students in the history of medicine, gender history, and Russian, East European, and Eurasian history.

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Childbirth
  • Trauma
  • Modern Europe
  • Imperial history
  • Russia/USSR
  • Kazakhstan/Central Asia

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2014 2014

Research Output 1996 2018

Childbirth and trauma, 1940s to 1980s

Michaels, P. A. Jan 2018 In : Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. 73, 1, p. 52-72 21 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Socialist Science across Borders: Investigating Pain in Soviet and Czechoslovakian Maternity Care

Hresanova, E. & Michaels, P. A. Mar 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : Revue d’études comparatives Est-Ouest.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Activities 2013 2017

The Johns Hopkins University Press (Publisher)

Michaels, P. (Peer reviewer)
2017

Activity: Peer review responsibility

Association for Women in Slavic Studies

Michaels, P. (Executive Member)
20172022

Activity: Professional association or peak discipline body

Lexington Books (Publisher)

Michaels, P. (Peer reviewer)
2017

Activity: Peer review responsibility

University of Calgary

Michaels, P. (Visiting researcher)
12 Nov 201717 Nov 2017

Activity: Visiting an external academic institution

Biennial Conference of the Australasian-Association-for-European-History

Michaels, P. (Member of programme committee)
2017

Activity: Contribution to conference

Press / Media

Explainer: Putin

Paula Michaels

31/01/18

1 media contribution

Press / Media: Expert Comment

The Women of the Revolution, Life Matters, Radio National

Paula Michaels

8/11/17

1 media contribution

Press / Media: Public Engagement Activities

On Russia, Evenings, ABC Radio-Melbourne

Paula Michaels

7/06/17

1 media contribution

Press / Media: Public Engagement Activities

What Not to Expect When Expecting

Paula Michaels

8/03/17

1 media contribution

Press / Media: Research

Diagnosing Donald Trump

Paula Michaels

6/09/16

1 media contribution

Press / Media: Expert Comment