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Household Medicine in Early Modern England

Dr Elaine Leong

The early modern household was the centre of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Not only was the pre-modern household, both spatially and as a familial unit, a social, economical, political and intellectual hub; it has also be identified as the location for a range of knowledge production and scientific activities. More specifically, historians of medicine have established the early modern household as one of the main sites offering care both to maintain health and to alleviate sickness. The active patients, it has been argued, often sought medical care within their own homes and amongst their family and friends. While the existence of medicine within the domestic sphere is undisputed, there is, as yet, not an in-depth study on the topic.

This project is the first major study of household medical knowledge and practices in early modern England. Based on extensive archival research, the work locates home-based medicine within larger narratives of medical economies and healthcare systems. It situates household medical and scientific knowledge and knowledge production practices within wider contemporary frameworks. Finally, it reassesses the role played by gender in medical activities within the domestic sphere.

 Events

Events

 Publications

Publications

  • ‘Sickness, Salves, Skillets’, BBC History Magazine (forthcoming, January 2010).
  • ‘Making Medicines in the Early Modern Household’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine (82, 2008), pp. 145-68. Awarded the J. Worth Estes Prize by the American Association for the History of Medicine.
  • ‘Recipe Collections and the Currency of Medical Knowledge in the Early Modern “Medical Marketplace”’ (with Sara Pennell), in. M. Jenner and P. Wallis (eds.), The Medical Marketplace and Its Colonies c. 1450-c 1850 (Palgrave Macmillian, 2007), pp. 133-52.
 Confs 

Conferences / Seminar Papers (PDF Document)

 

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