Teri Chettiar

 Teri Chettiar

Contact Information

History, 309 Greg Hall
810 S. Wight Street M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Hours

  • Mondays, 2:30-4pm
Assistant Professor

Research Interests

  • History of the human sciences
  • Modern Britain and Europe
  • Gender and Sexuality

Research Description

Teri Chettiar is a historian of modern Britain and Europe whose research focuses on intersections between the psychological sciences and the politics of democracy in the twentieth century, particularly around child, family, and community health initiatives. She is currently finishing a book manuscript, entitled The Psychiatric Family: How Private Life Became Political in Welfare-State Britain, which is under contract with Oxford University Press. It examines how a post-war revolution in British psychiatry transformed both democratic welfare politics and what counted as emotional health­—and how the two came to be seen as deeply interconnected. It reveals how, between 1945 and 1979, citizens’ emotional lives came to be understood as the great social equalizer, and lifelong heterosexual monogamous relationships were cast as the privileged basis for stable democracy. She has published articles related to this book project in Journal of British StudiesHistory of PsychologyHistory of the Human Sciences, and History of Medicine. She is also mapping out a new project, tentatively entitled “Inventing the Global Child: Science, Humanitarianism, and the End of Empire,” which investigates the central role of the newly emerging child development sciences in shaping British, French, and American postcolonial socio-economic development initiatives in the decades after 1945. 


  • Ph.D. Northwestern University, 2013

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

'More than a Contract': The Emergence of a State-Supported Marriage Welfare Service and the Politics of Emotional Life in Post-1945 Britain Journal of British Studies 55 3 2016, p. 566-591.
‘Treating Marriage as the Sick Patient’: Gender, Emotional Life, and the Psychology Marriage Improvement in Postwar Britain History of Psychology 18 3 2015, p. 270-282.
Democratizing Mental Health: Motherhood, Therapeutic Community, and the Emergence of the Psychiatric Family at the Cassel Hospital in Post-WWII Britain History of the Human Sciences 25 5 2012, p. 107-122.
'Looking as Little Like Patients as Persons Well Could’: Hypnotism, Medicine and the Problem of the Suggestible Subject in Turn-of-the-Century Britain Medical History 56 3 2012, p. 335-354.