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The 'Birth' of the History of Medicine (Hilary Marland)

Medical History today is a diverse field of scholarship with no self-evident identity or clear-cut boundaries with other disciplines. Yet at some point it was conceived as a special, discrete entity. This term’s seminars will explore some of the historical endeavours which have shaped the field of the History of Medicine since the turn of the twentieth century when the subject was presented as a coherent field of scholarship with disciplinary and societal aspirations.

The first seminar deals with Medical History in the early twentieth century, a vital moment in the history of the institutionalisation of the field.

Seminar Readings

Chapters 1, 5 and 7 in Huisman, Frank/ Warner, John Harley (eds), Locating Medical History: The Stories and their Meanings (2004).

Charles E. Rosenberg, ‘Erwin H. Ackerknecht, Social Medicine, and the History of Medicine’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 81 (2007), 511-532.

Additionally, I want you to select a historian of medicine from the seminar readings and have a closer look at his/her work. During the seminar you will asked to present your thoughts about his/her history writing (style? method? intellectual agenda?) and how you see it linked to the wider socio-cultural landscape in which the scholar wrote.

Further Readings

Brieger, Gert, ‘The Historiography of Medicine’, in Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine, ed. W.F. Bynum and Roy Porter (1993), 1-24.

Making Medical History: The Life and Times of Henry E. Sigerist, ed. Elizabeth Fee and Theodore M. Brown (1997).

Reverby, Susan, and Rosner, David, ‘Beyond ‘the Great Doctors’’, in Health Care in America: Essays in Social History, ed. ibid. (1979) and chapter 8 in Huisman, Frank/ Warner, John Harley (eds), Locating Medical History, ‘“Beyond the Great Doctors” Revisited: A Generation of New Social Historians of Medicine’.

Warner, John Harley, ‘The History of Science and the Sciences of Medicine’, Osiris, 10 (1995), 164-184.

Webster, Charles, ‘The Historiography of Medicine’, in Information Sources in the History of Science and Medicine, ed. Pietro Corsi and Paul Weindling (1983), 29-43.