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£600,000 Award to Research Quacks and the History of 'Alternative Therapies'

Originally published 7 July 2003

The Centre for the History of Medicine based at the University of Warwick has won £600,000 from the Wellcome Trust for a five-year programme on the 'Cultures and Practices of Health', set to focus on 'quacks' and the history of alternatives to formal medical practice, early psychiatry and health in the workplace.

One new project, 'The Practice of Medicine in Early Modern Europe' will examine the relationship between medical personnel and illicit or informal medicine from 1500 to 1800.

Dr Hilary Marland, from the Department of History, said: “This award will enable us to focus and develop projects with a Europe wide perspective on the relationship and boundaries between so called 'quacks' and formal practitioners, in terms of ideas and beliefs as well as personnel, by looking at, for example, the mobility and work practices of 'charlatans'.”

Another major research programme entitled ‘The Health of Workers in the Twentieth Century’ will highlight the responses of employers and trade unions to the broader health needs and welfare of the workforce in a variety of working environments. This, until now, is an area of research that has been neglected. Other research initiatives will focus on the history medicine and multiculturalism and spa treatments.

The projects will develop inter-disciplinary links between the Universities of Warwick and Leicester that will complement the activities of the Leicester-Warwick Medical Schools. The grant will also help form research associations with other centres for the history of medicine in Britain and overseas.

The Award will enable the Centre for the History of Medicine, set-up in 1999, to develop new projects and expand its existing conference, seminar and outreach activities.

A range of activities open to the public are planned for the next five years, including a web-based occasional papers series, a programme of events with Leamington Spa’s Pump Rooms and Gallery, conferences and workshops, and an annual public lecture and seminar series. The projects will start in October 2003.

For more information contact:

Dr Hilary Marland,
Department of History,
University of Warwick,
Mobile: 07732 914 510