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About the Centre for the History of Medicine

hofm-01-rgb.jpegEstablished in 1999, the Centre’s staff and students seek to understand medical ideas, practices, and institutions in their broad social and cultural contexts, and to utilise and develop intellectual tools to engage with the many challenges faced by medicine both historically and in contemporary society.

Employing historical, literary, ethnographic, and social science methodologies;

  • We ask questions about how medicine works, the basis of its authority, and what ethical and moral questions are involved in its practice.
  • We investigate how the practice of medicine is related to wider intellectual, cultural, social, political, and economic trends, to changes at a particular moment in history or at the present.
  • We aim to contribute to the formation of new intellectual agendas and perspectives around the history of medicine.
  • We aspire to reach beyond academic life and engage with the local community and the public at large over contemporary medical and scientific concerns, and to do so in creative and innovative ways.

The interests of faculty and student span classical to contemporary periods and embrace local, national, and global concerns. Supported by a second Wellcome Trust Strategic Award with the title, Situating Medicine: New Directions in the History of Medicine(£812k over five years) since 2008, our research and teaching particularly engages with the following areas: social and cultural history of medicine, public and occupational health, mental illness, medical technologies, history of psychology, psychiatry and the neurosciences, historical epistemology, history of anatomy and disease, colonial and postcolonial medicine, gender and the medical sciences, health and ethnicity, and environmental history.

Over the next three years we are committed to extend and strengthen our interdisciplinary agenda and investigate how we can we develop our research profile through new, creative, and effective collaboration spanning the disciplines and faculties at Warwick University.

The Centre is located within the Warwick History Department and students in our Undergraduate Programme are not only introduced to different areas of scholarly enquiry into the History of Medicine but also to the study of history and its methods more broadly. In our Graduate programme, leading to the MA and PhD, students gain further expertise in a wide range of historical areas and approaches before specialising in a particular topic and time period. Throughout their training students are encouraged to participate in the many other Centre activities, such as reading lunches, work in progress forums, and academic skill sessions, helping to prepare them for today’s competitive academic market.

The annual Seminar Series brings to the Centre interesting and exciting national and international scholars working in the history of medicine field. Together with the many Conferences, Workshops, Events and Summer Schools organised or sponsored by the Centre, the seminars provide an opportunity for staff, students, and guests from other departments in the humanities, science, and social science faculties at Warwick to meet and engage in lively and productive discussion. Through our strong commitment to interdisciplinary debate we enjoy particularly close links with Warwick Medical School and the Institute of Health, to Classics, English, Renaissance Studies, Sociology, Biological Sciences, Political Sciences, Law, and Philosophy.






'Cultures and Practices of Health'
'Situating Medicine: New Directions in the History of Medicine'