Dr Katherine Hubbard
Dr Hubbard is a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department having previously worked in the School of Psychology. Her research and teaching are inter-disciplinary, including sociological, psychological and historical components. At present, she teaches key modules such as De/Constructing Gender and is centrally focused on research areas pertaining to gender, sexuality and queer studies. Her work takes a distinctive affirmative and inclusive approach. She is one of the founding members of the Sex, Gender and Sexuality Research Group at the University of Surrey, is a past Chair of the University LGBTQI Equality Group, and is currently the Programme Director for the forthcoming interdisciplinary MSc course in Sex, Gender and Sexuality studies. She is also a Co-I on the FUTURESEX initiative which aims to bridge academic, activist and community groups. She completed her PhD titled: 'A history of the Rorschach ink blot test: An interdisciplinary queer feminist approach to one bleeding test' at the University of Surrey, supervised by Prof Peter Hegarty. Prior to that, she did a Masters at the University of Sussex in Applied and Social Psychology and a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Psychology at the University of Surrey.
My research is interdisciplinary and I work within and around Sociology, Psychology and History with particular interests in the histories of social sciences with queer feminist approaches. Trained as a social psychologist, I adopt a particular critical, perspective in analysis of objects of psychological and sociological interest. I am engaged with questions surrounding the influences and loops on and from the social sciences, as well as those surrounding 'truth' within the philosophy of science. Generally speaking, I have research interests in sexuality, gender, LGBT studies and queer history and adopt quantitative, qualitative and historical methods. I am involved in the University of Surrey's Sex, Gender and Sexuality (SGS) Research Group.
Current Sociology: Topics and Issues; Psychology of Criminal Behaviour; and De/Constructing Gender.
Hubbard, K. (2020). Queer Ink: A Blotted History Towards Liberation. Routledge.
Donnelly, L., Hubbard, K. & Capdevila, R. (in press). POWES is pronounced ‘feminist’: Activist and academic boundaries in the talk of UK feminist psychologists. Feminism & Psychology.
Griffiths, D. & Hubbard, K. (in press). Do you have to have sex to have sex? Defining Sex in British Law and Medicine from the 1950s. Sexualities.
Hubbard, K.A. (2021). Lesbian Community and Activism in Britain 1940s-1970s: An interview with Cynthia Reid. Journal of Homosexuality.
Hubbard, K.A. & Griffiths, D.A. (2019). Sexual Offenses, Diagnosis and Activism: A Queer British History of Psychology. American Psychologist. Special Issue 50 years since Stonewall: The science and politics of sexual orientation and gender diversity. 74(8), 940-953
Capdevila, R. Hubbard, K. & Donnelly, L. (2019). Standing still whilst ‘looking back and moving forwards’: the personal accounts of POWS members in the here and now. Psychology of Women and Equalities Review, 2(1), 1-12.
Hubbard, K. (2018). The British projective test movement: Reflections on a queer feminist tale. History and Philosophy of Psychology, 19(1) 26-35.
Hubbard, K. (2017). Queer Signs: The women of the British projective test movement. Journal of the history of the Behavioural Sciences, 53(2), 265-285.
Hubbard, K. (2017). Treading on delicate ground: Comparing the Lesbian and Gay Affirmative Rorschach Research of June Hopkins and Evelyn Hooker. Psychology of Women Section Review, 19 (1), 3-9.
Hubbard, K. & Hegarty, P. (2017). Rorschach tests and Rorschach vigilantes: Queering the history of Psychology in Watchmen. History of the Human Sciences, 30(4) 75–99.
Hubbard, K. & Hegarty, P. (2016). Blots and all: A history of the Rorschach Ink Blot test in Britain. Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences, 52(2), 146-166.
Hubbard, K. & de Visser, R. (2015). Not just bi the bi: The relationship between essentialist beliefs and attitudes about bisexuality. Psychology and Sexuality, 6(3), 258-274.
Hubbard, K. & Hegarty, P. (2014) Why is the History of Heterosexuality Essential? Beliefs about the History of Sexuality and Their Relationship to Sexual Prejudice. Journal of Homosexuality, 61, 471-490.
BOOK/ ENCYCLOPEDIA CHAPTERS
Bharj, N. & Hubbard, K. (in press). Power/History/Psychology: A Feminist Excavation of Power, History, and Psychology. The Palgrave Handbook of Psychology, Power & Gender. Palgrave, Macmillan.
Hubbard, K. & Bharj, N. (2019). A Gendered Prestige: The Powers at Play when Doing Psychology with Ink Blots/Statistics. In Psychological Studies in Science and Technology. O’Doherty, K., Ernst Schraube, E., & Yen,J. (Eds.).
Hubbard, K. (2018). Hooker, Evelyn. American National Biography.
Hubbard, K. & Hare, D. (2015). Psychologists as testers. In Clinical Psychology in Britain: Historical Perspectives. Hall, J., Pilgrim, D. & Turpin, G. (Eds.). History of Psychology Centre Monograph No 2. British Psychology Society, Leicester: Blackwell.
Hegarty, P., Bartos, S., & Hubbard, K. (2015). The History of Theory in Social Psychology. In Wright, J. D (Eds.) International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier.
Hegarty, P., Hubbard, K., & Nyatanga, L., (2015). Innovative Approaches to Teaching CHIP: An Introduction [to the Special Issue edited by the authors]. History and Philosophy of Psychology, 16(1), 1-3.
Hubbard, K. (2020). Non-Binary Lives. The Psychologist. December issue.
Hubbard, K. (2019). A Recent History of Lesbian and Gay Psychology: From Homophobia to LGBT. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 55(4), 365-366.
Hubbard, K. (2018). Queer: A Graphic History, Review. Psychology of Sexualities Review, 9(2), 53-54.
Hubbard, K. (2016). Review of Phellas, C. (2012). Researching non- heterosexual sexualities. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited. Psychology of Sexualities Review, 7(1), 114-118.
Hubbard, K. (2016). Review of Lepore, J. (2014). The Secret History of Wonder Woman. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Feminism & Psychology, 7(11), 114-118.
Hubbard, K. (2015). Review of Lesbian Lives Conference 2015: Lesbians Feminism/s Now! Psychology of Sexualities Review, 6(1), 110-111.
Hubbard, K. (2015). Review of Hayward, R. (2014). The Transformation of the Psyche in British Primary Care 1880-1970. Bloomsbury: London. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 51(3), 338–340
Hubbard, K. (2015). ‘…Rorschach. He’s sick in his mind.’ Asylum Magazine. Graphic novels and mental health special issue, 23 (2), 20-2
In this article, I provide a micro(oral)history of Cynthia Reid, one of only five women who founded the Minorities Research group-the first known lesbian organization in Britain, in 1963. Such activism paved the way for further lesbian liberatory action and the group did a great deal to combat the isolation experienced by many queer women across the country. They provided social opportunities as well as advice, and made more public calls for greater social acceptance. The group has been central to the interests of 20th-century queer historians, especially as the Minorities Research Group also produced the first lesbian magazine in Britain Arena Three. As a microhistory Cynthia's story informs many threads within queer history, including conceptualizations of masculinities, community, and change; while also challenging dominant notions that families and medical professionals were consistently unsupportive of queer people in the 1940s-1970s. In doing so, this article amplifies Cynthia's story in a way that means not only does it contribute nuance as a micro(oral)history to the broader field of queer scholarship but it also acts as a resource to stimulate further research.
This historical interdisciplinary book contextualises the Rorschach ink blot test and embeds it within feminist action and queer liberation. What do you see when you look at an ink blot? The Rorschach ink blot test is one of the most famous psychological tests and it has a surprisingly queer history. In mapping this history, this book explores how this test, once used to detect and diagnose ‘homosexuality’, was later used by some psychologists and activists to fight for gay liberation. In this book the author uses the test in yet another way, as a lens through which we can reveal a queer feminist history of Psychology. By looking closely at the lives and work of some women psychologists and activists it becomes clear that their work was influenced by their own, often queer, lives. By tracing the lives and actions of women who used, were tested with, or influenced by, the Rorschach, a new kind of understanding of gay and lesbian history in Britain is revealed. Pushing at the borders between Psychology, Sociology, and activism, the book utilises the Rorschach to show how influential the social world is on scientific practice. This is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the history of sexuality and Psychology.
Hooker, Evelyn (2 September 1907 – 18 Nov. 1996) psychologist and key figure in the movement to depathologise homosexuality in the US, was born Evelyn Gentry in her grandmother’s one-room farm house in North Platte, Nebraska, the sixth of nine children of Edward and Jessie Bethel Gentry.
In the literature about bisexuality few studies consider bisexual people’s beliefs about bisexuality and none examine essentialist beliefs about bisexuality. In the present study 244 participants (bisexual n = 58, lesbian/gay n = 54 and heterosexual n =132) from the UK were asked via online questionnaire about their attitudes towards bisexuality, homosexuality and heterosexuality, and how stable they perceived bisexuality, homosexuality and heterosexuality to be. They were also asked about their essentialist beliefs towards bisexuality. Bisexual respondents viewed bisexuality as significantly more stable than lesbian, gay and heterosexual respondents. Analysis also showed that less belief in the discreetness of bisexuality predicted more positive attitudes towards bisexuality, as did positive beliefs towards homosexuality and heterosexuality. Belief in the immutability of bisexuality did not, however, predict attitudes towards bisexuality. Therefore, discreteness appears to be an especially problematic essentialist belief about all sexual minorities, as it is consistently associated with negative attitudes. However, beliefs about the immutability of sexuality are not consistently associated with negative attitudes for all sexual minorities.
Despite the easily recognizable nature of the Rorschach ink blot test very little is known about the history of the test in Britain. We attend to the oft-ignored history of the Rorschach test in Britain and compare it to its history in the US. Prior to the Second World War, Rorschach testing in Britain had attracted advocates and critiques. Afterward, the British Rorschach Forum, a network with a high proportion of women, developed around the Tavistock Institute in London and The Rorschach Newsletter. In 1968, the International Rorschach Congress was held in London but soon after the group became less exclusive, and fell into decline. A comparative account of the Rorschach in Britain demonstrates how different national institutions invested in the ‘projective hypothesis’ according to the influence of psychoanalysis, the adoption of a nationalized health system, and the social positioning of ‘others’ throughout the twentieth century. In comparing and contrasting the history of the Rorschach in Britain and the US, we decentralize and particularize the history of North American Psychology.
One of the clearest signs that Psychology has impacted popular culture is the public’s familiarity with the Rorschach ink blot test. An excellent example of the Rorschach in popular culture can be found in Watchmen, the comic/graphic novel written by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1987). In the mid-20th century Psychology had an especially contentious relationship with comics; some psychologists were very anxious about the impact on comics on young people, whereas others wrote comics to subvert dominant norms about gender and sexuality. Yet historians of Psychology have had almost nothing to say about this popular and critically acclaimed novel. We read Watchmen here for its narratives that most concern the history of Psychology. We focus on such themes as anti-psychiatry, sexual violence, homophobia, lesbian erasure, and social psychological research on bystander intervention. We argue it is possible to more closely align Psychology and comics despite their sometimes contentious history. In doing so we demonstrate the active role of the public in the history of the Rorschach, public engagement of Psychology via comics, and also reveal what is possible when historians consider comics within their histories.
Heterosexual people with more positive attitudes to lesbians and gay men generally believe that homosexuality is immutable, is not a discrete social category, and that homosexuality exists in all cultures and time periods. Equivalent beliefs about heterosexuality and beliefs about components of sexuality have been less-often researched. 136 people with diverse sexualities described heterosexuality as more universal across history and culture than homosexuality (Study 1). 69 heterosexual-identified participants similarly believed that love, identity, behaviour and desire were more historically invariant aspects of heterosexuality than of homosexuality (Study 2). Less prejudiced participants thought all components of homosexuality – except for identity – were more historically invariant. Teasing apart beliefs about the history of components of heterosexuality and homosexuality suggests that there is no “essential” relationship between sexual prejudice and the tension between ‘essentialist’ and ‘constructivist’ views about the history of sexual identity.
As queer history is often hidden historians must look for ‘signs’ that hint at queer lives and experiences. When psychologists use projective tests the search for queer signs has historically been more literal, and this was especially true in the homophobic practices of Psychology in the mid-20th century. In this paper I respond to Elizabeth Scarborough’s call for more analytic history about the lesser known women in Psychology’s history. By focusing on British projective research conducted by lesbian Psychologist June Hopkins I shift perspective and consider, not those who were tested (which has been historically more common), but those who did the testing, and position them as potential queer subjects. After briefly outlining why the projective test movement is ripe for such analysis and the kinds of queer signs that were identified using the Rorschach ink blot test in the mid-20th century, I then present June Hopkins’ (1969; 1970) research on the ‘lesbian personality’. This work forms a framework upon which I then consider the lives of Margaret Lowenfeld, Ann Kaldegg and Effie Lillian Hutton, all of whom were involved in the British projective test movement a generation prior to Hopkins. By adopting Hopkins’ research to frame their lives I present the possibility of this ambiguous history being distinctly queer.
In order to do queer history well a number of difficult challenges have to be overcome. Our understanding of sexuality has changed so much over time that historians must be careful and considerate when carving out ‘queer’ as a narrative. In this paper I will be outlining some of my analysis from my recent paper 'Queer signs: The women of the British projective test movement' in the Journal of the Behavioural Sciences and present some of the notable queer women involved in the early projective test movement. By paying attention to their queerness, in terms of their unusual and unconventional positions in a men-dominated early Psychology and their queer private lives, I add an additional lens through which we can consider early British Psychology. In reflection of this research I will draw upon two key issues central to this analysis. By reflecting upon the research project outlined here I argue it is not only important to recognise the work of these early queer women but also celebrate their work, their resistance and their unconventionality.
‘An old Victorian oil lamp. The shape of the lamp. Two girls - at each side going to kiss each other. Big breasts, very slim, high heads, only one leg. Red lipstick.’ These are the responses to the above Rorschach ink blot (Card 3) by a woman ‘who was deeply involved in a homosexual relationship’ while at her stay in a psychiatric hospital in London (Barker, 1970). The use of the Rorschach in pathologising and affirmative research towards lesbians and gay men has had an interesting history. In this short paper I outline the work of two individual women – Evelyn Hooker and June Hopkins- and compare their approaches to lesbian and gay affirmative research using the Rorschach. By paying close attention to the historical contexts of such research, I allow for new interpretations of the meaning of difference to emerge and suggest the projective test moment to be particularly rich for feminist scholars.
This article charts the historical period from the 1950s to the 1990s, focusing on the role of Psychology in the lives of LGBTIQ people in Britain. Psychology has been, and is, central to the social, legal and medical understandings of biological sex and how best to understand diversity in gender and sexuality. Likewise, gay liberation and liberationist politics also had an effect on Psychology. For the 1950s-1960s, we outline how Psychologists influenced the Law in relation to the Wolfenden Report (1957) and how expertise was centrally located within the Psy disciplines. Following this, in the 1960s-1970s, activists began to challenge this expertise and became increasingly critical of pathologisation and of ‘treatments’ for homosexuality. They did not reject Psychology wholesale, however, and some groups engaged with queer affirmative psychologists who had similar liberatory aims. Finally, for the 1980s-1998 we highlight the establishment of the Lesbian and Gay Section of the British Psychological Society which signalled institutional recognition of lesbian and gay psychologists. This is explored against a backdrop of a specific British history of HIV/AIDS and Section 28. The past fifty years have been a battleground of categories in which LGBTIQ people were conflated, compared, and confused. We demonstrate that psychologists (not all of whom adopted a pathologising perspective) alongside politicians, lawyers, doctors, journalists and activists all played a role in the boundary-making practices of this period. Across this entangled history we demonstrate varied and significant shifts in the legitimacy of professional and personal expertise. Public Significance Statement: This article presents a British history of LGBTIQ Psychology from 1954-1998. Within a complex landscape of law, social change, medicine and activism, it recognises the influence Psychology has had on the lives of LGBTIQ people and vice versa. This history is important for contemporary Psychology as LGBTIQ issues continue to be contested in Britain and further afield.