Dr Kate Davison (BA (Hons), MA, PhD)

Lecturer in the History of Sexuality

  • School of History, Classics and Archaeology
  • History

Contact details



Room 1M.10, William Robertson Wing, Doorway 4, Old Medical School

Post code


  • Drop in times for students in 2023-24 Semester 2 are:
    Mondays 3-4pm
    Wednesdays 10-11am

    Please email to arrange alternative appointments either in-person or via Teams.

Undergraduate teaching


Year 4: HIST10486 ‘Sexperts’ and Scientific Publics in the Global Twentieth Century (Course Organiser)

Year 3: HIST10426 Historical Skills and Methods I Pathway: Histories of Sexualities (Pathway Organiser)


Year 2: HIST08043 Themes in Modern European History (Team taught)

Year 1: HIST08032 The Historian's Toolkit (Team taught)

Postgraduate teaching

PGHC11335 Historical Methodology: Queer History and the History of Sexuality

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I invite supervision inquiries for modern history in the following areas:

  • sexuality and gender, especially queer history
  • sexology and the psy-sciences, incl. psychiatry & medicine
  • emotions
  • museums, archives, memory culture, public history and colonial legacies
  • Germany and Central Eastern Europe, Australia, UK, US and the anglophone world

I especially welcome transnational & global history projects focusing on the twentieth century.

Current PhD students supervised

Thomas Crepin, The Intersex Movement and Christian Denominations in the United States since 1990

Rachel Dutaud, Representation and Participation: Queer & Feminist Community Archives and the Liberation-Assimilation Spectrum

Research summary

I am a historian of psy-sciences, sexuality, gender, emotions and politics in twentieth-century Central Europe and the British Commonwealth. My research interests span the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries in global, world and transnational perspective, as well as postcolonial, archive, museum and memory studies.

Current research interests

My current research focuses on the psychiatric treatment of queer desire and gender during the Cold War, paying special attention to the transnational circulation of sexological knowledge via behaviourist theories and methods, and the ways that political and social movements have responded to the ‘medical model’. Some of this research will be published in my forthcoming book, Aversion Therapy: Sex, Psychiatry and the Cold War (Cambridge).

Past research interests

I have worked extensively in the field of queer archives and public history and memory, and as a translator of scholarly texts from German to English.

Knowledge exchange


Journal articles and book chapters

‘Queer Space’, in Jenny Wustenberg and Yifat Gutman (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism (London: Taylor & Francis, 2023), 237-242.

'AV-6 Visually Keyed Shocker, c. 1973’, in Christina Linden and Chris E. Vargas (eds.), Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2023).

‘Cold War Pavlov: Homosexual Aversion Therapy in the 1960s’, History of the Human Sciences, 34/1 (February 2021), Special Issue: Histories of Sexology.

‘Neil McConaghy’s Penile Plethysmograph’, in Chris Brickell & Judith Collard (eds.), Queer Objects (Manchester University Press, 2019), 286-95.

‘The Sexual (Geo)Politics of Loyalty: Homosexuality and Emotion in Cold War National Security Policy’, in Sean Brady & Mark Seymour (eds.), From Sodomy Laws to Same-Sex Marriage: International Perspectives since 1789 (Bloomsbury, 2019), 123-40.

‘Emotions as a Kind of Practice: Six Case Studies Utilizing Monique Scheer’s Practice-Based Approach to Emotions in History’, co-authored with Marja Jalava, Giulia Morosini, Monique Scheer, Kristine Steenbergh, Iris van der Zande & Lisa Fetheringill Zwicker, Cultural History, 7/2 (2018), 226-38.

‘Atheism, Secularism and Religious Freedom: Debates within the German Left’ International Socialism Journal 150 (2016).

‘Zur aktuellen Situation von Frauen in Deutschland’, theorie21: Geschlecht, Klasse, Sozialismus – Theorie und Praxis der Frauenbefreiung, 5 (2015), 53-70.

‘Agents of Social Change? LGBT Voices in Australian Museums’, La Trobe Journal 87 (2011), 149-63.



Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Material Survey Project Report, Museum Victoria, Melbourne, 2006.


Published scholarly translations

Frank Henschel, ‘Engineering Families for Children: Adoption and the State Child Welfare System in Socialist Czechoslovakia’, Bohemia: Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kultur der böhmischen Länder ( Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2023)

Peter Hallama, ‘“Are we afraid of fathers in the delivery room?” Experiments in Obstetrics in Late Socialist Czechoslovakia’, in Christiane Brenner, Michal Pullmann and Anja Tippner (eds.), After Utopia: Czechoslovak Normalization between Experiment and Experience, 1968-1989 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2022)

Bettina Hitzer & Monique Scheer, ‘Unholy Feelings: Questioning Evangelical Emotions in Wilhelmine Germany’, German History, Special Issue: Feeling and Faith: Religious Emotions in German History, 32/3 (2014), 371-92.

Affiliated research centres

In the press

‘Queer Under Communism’, Eurasian Knot podcast, hosted by Sean Guillory, University of Pittsburgh Centre for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, 29 June 2023. https://euraknot.org/2023/06/29/queer-under-communism/

Episode 5: ‘The Experiments’, The Greatest Menace podcast, produced by Patrick Abboud & Simon Cunich, Audible 2022. https://www.thegreatestmenace.com /

Patrick Kelleher, ‘Charting conversion therapy’s harrowing history – from its barbaric roots to present day cruelty’, Pink News, 1 April 2022. https://www.thepinknews.com/2022/04/01/what-is-conversion-therapy/

‘The Ruins of Science’, Shooting the Past, season 2, episode 1, radio broadcast hosted by Clare Wright, prod. Michelle Rayner, with guests Kate Davison, Fabian LoSchiavo and Dr Sue Wills, ABC Radio National, 22 January 2019, 30 minutes. https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/shootingthepast/shooting-the-past-the-ruins-of-science/10665804.

Farz Edraki and Clare Wright, ‘This “penis lie detector” helped doctors conduct gay aversion therapy’, ABC Radio National website, Shooting the Past blog, 31 January 2019, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-01/penis-lie-detector-helped-doctors-conduct-gay-aversion-therapy/10768044.

‘Wie gehen Museen und Archive mit LGBTI um?’, radio interview by Christian Find with Kate Davison and Andreas Pretzel about the ALMS 2019 Queering Memory conference, rbbKultur Radio, Berlin and Brandenburg, Germany, June 28, 2019.

‘“Erinnerungskultur braucht mehr Vielfalt” - Wie wird die Geschichte der Homosexuellen sichtbar? Ein Gespräch mit Historikerin Kate Davison’, interview by Tilmann Warnecke, Tagesspiegel, June 27, 2019.