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Introductory Session (Angela Davis)

Over the past few decades, historians of medicine have regularly taken stock of the field through the medium of the edited volume. This week begins with a trawl through some of the most high-profile recent edited collections (plus one more). Please peruse each of the volumes listed below. Have a look at their introductions and the chapter in each that is most closely related to your own research interests.

  • William Bynum and Roy Porter (eds), Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine, Vols 1 & 2 (London: Routledge, 1993) (available in multiple copies in Main Library and Learning Grid, available in CHM Hub)
  • Roger Cooter and John Pickstone (eds), Medicine in the Twentieth Century (Amsterdam: Harwood, 2000) (multiple copies in library, available in CHM Hub Library)
  • Frank Huisman and John Harley Warner (eds), Locating Medical History: The Stories and Their Meanings (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2004) (copies in library and e-book, available in CHM Hub Library)
  • Mark Jackson (ed), Oxford Handbook to the History of Medicine (Oxford: OUP, 2011) (copies in library and e-book, available CHM Hub Library)
  • Fielding Garrison, An Introduction to the History of Medicine (1913) (accessible online here: [search by author's name and select this volume])

Except for Garrison (too old) these are all available in the small reading library (Hub) in the Centre of History of Medicine - located off the Graduate Space in H449. Please do not remove these volumes from the Hub.

Come to seminar ready to answer the following questions:

  • What do these volumes have in common?
  • What are their important differences?
  • Why did their editors find it timely to produce them?
  • What are the differences in 'your' chapter/chapters across the texts?
  • What does this tell us about the field and how it has changed over time?

And an assignment: Draw up a 'fantasy football' list of chapters for an edited volume titled 'Introduction to the History of Medicine according to [Your Name]'. (Please exclude all locals from your list - we take it as read we would be key players!!)

For substantial extra credit, also peruse the on-line (or paper!) tables of contents of the following journals: Social History of Medicine, Bulletin of the History of Medicine and Medical History. When did these journals begin? How have they changed? How do they differ from one another?

One more thing to think about: at a job interview I was once asked ‘Other than the people in this room, who would you say are the five outstanding living scholars in your field?’. So here’s a thought: write down your top five historians of medicine (living or dead). Let’s see if they are the same by the end of the term… I will bring my list too!