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Mrs Sophie Michell

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Professional biography

I am a part-time post-graduate researcher, working in the History department. 

My PhD is titled "Dynamics of Death: Peterborough's Coroner's Court 1855-1905", and is funded by the Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership.

I aim to look at the interpersonal dynamics of the coroner's court - between the coroner, his jury, the witnesses and the deceased. I hope to demonstrate how personal relationships and community ties affected the verdicts of inquests, and therefore the administration of justice. 

I have a BSc in Health and Social Care, from the Open University (2016) and a Masters of Arts in Local and Regional History, also from the Open University (2019). My planned PhD is a continuation of my MA dissertation, which focused on neonatal inquests and infanticide. 

I am a member of the Open Thanatology research group.

Research interests

My research has two main focal points - the investigation of violent death in the nineteenth century, and the Victorian inquest as a function of justice.

This encompasses a wide variety of themes, including interpersonal violence; history of medicine; suicide; health, safety and risk; local government; policing and the wider criminal justice system; the overlapping of the domestic and legal spheres within the coroner's court; and the professionalisation of legal and medical careers. 


Historical Infanticide Through An Interdisciplinary Lens (2021)
Michell, Sophie
Postgraduate Research Poster Competition, The Open University