Tutors: Sabine Clarke
Module type: Histories and Contexts
Module Code: HIS00109I
What is ‘modern’ about modern medicine? How is the history of health and disease related to wider historical contexts such as revolution, industrialisation and globalization. This course looks at the factors prompting changes in medical knowledge and practice from the eighteenth century to the present day. It focuses on the rise of scientific medicine and explores the increasing importance of empirical observation, experiment, statistics and technology for understandings of the body, disease and its treatment. At the same time, it explores the ethical issues generated by the rise of laboratory medicine. The growth of medical research from the late 18th century generated questions about the use of cadavers for dissection and the value of live animals and human beings for experiments and clinical trials. The increasing centrality of the laboratory to medicine gave rise to drugs that created new opportunities for profit, reformulated definitions of disease and transformed the relationship between doctors and their patients.
Historians do not tell the story of the rise of scientific medicine as a story of unfettered progress. This course considers the changes to medical care and knowledge that have been wrought by a shift to scientific modes of knowledge production, placing these in their wider historical context, and considers the ways in which scientific medicine has helped shape the modern world.
The lecture programme will likely include the following:
Discussion groups will likely deal with the following:
For more information, please visit the module catalogue.