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Research Interests


19th- early 20th-century hypodermic syringe, Musée d'histoire de la médecine, Paris, Hannah Halliwell art historian


Hannah's doctoral and post-doctoral research explored representations of morphine addicts and morphine addiction in French visual culture.

The research, which appears in her forthcoming monograph, Art, Medicine, and Femininity, examines how and why artists almost always portrayed the morphine addict as female, when statistical studies at the time showed men as the majority of users.

Image: photograph taken at Musée d’histoire de la médecine, Paris

Opium pipe and paraphernalia, Regnard Les Maladies de l'Esprit, Wellcome Collections, Hannah Halliwell art history


Hannah is currently researching the representations of opium dreams in 19th-century French visual culture. She is also researching the material culture of drug paraphernalia, and the visualisations of absinthe.

Hannah has a continued, broad interest in representations of the female body. Her research looks at all kinds of visual media, from caricatures and medical wax models to academic oil paintings and avant-garde prints.

Image: from Paul Regnard, Les Maladies de l'Esprit, 1887. Photo: Wellcome Collections (cc)


Talks and Projects for 2024

2 February. Online interview with Points (Alcohol and Drugs History Society). Article title: Talking Points: Hannah Halliwell.

27-30 June, Buffalo NY. Alcohol and Drugs History Society (ADHS) conference. Paper title: The Visual and Material Culture of Opiate Paraphernalia in Nineteenth-Century France

1-3 July, Stirling, UK. Society for French Studies (SFS) conference. Panel chair for Between Word, Image and Sound: Intermedial Aesthetics in the Art of Les Nabis

10-12 July, Durham, UK. International Nineteenth-Century Studies Association (IN-CSA). Paper title: The Pipe and the Syringe: How Visualisations of Opiate Use Promoted French Nationalism and Colonialism.

28th September, Glasgow, UK. Degas Symposium at the Burrell Collection. Paper title: Degas, Absinthe, and the Café.

Past Lecture Highlights

Panel convenor for Visualising Addiction, with Dr Lucy Weir. Association for Art History annual conference, 2023, UCL.

Sensationalising Addiction: Art and Text at the Fin-de-SiècleFrench Nineteenth-Century Art Network, 2022.

'A contagion more formidable than the plague’: Addiction in French ArtAssociation for Art History annual conference, 2022.

The Hypodermic Syringe, Morphine and Nineteenth-Century FranceUK Association for Anaesthetists, Heritage Lates series, 2021.

Dangers, Desires and Disease: The Morphine Addict in Visual CultureResearch seminar series, 2021, University of Edinburgh.

Images of Morphine Use(rs) in French Visual Culture, 1884-1914. Intoxicating Spaces (HERA project), 2021.

The Significance of the Image: Morphine-mania in French Visual CultureAlcohol and Drugs History Society (ADHS), bi-annual conference, 2019, University of Shanghai.

The Dangers of Desire in the Belle ÉpoqueWomen's Spaces, Pleasure and Desire in the Belle Époque conference, 2019, University of Oxford.


Medicalisation and Popularisation: The Morphine Addict in French Art. Association for the History of Medicine and Science (SAHMS) annual conference, 2019, University of Virginia.

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