samedi 30 juin 2012

en route vers la science !

Moving Towards Science in the Long Nineteenth Century’: Postgraduate Symposium

12 September 2012, 
The Literary and Philosophical Society,  Newcastle upon Tyne.
Guest speakers:
Professor Jennifer Richards and Dr Anne Whitehead (Newcastle University), Professor David Knight (Durham University), and Dr Peter Garratt (Northumbria University)
The North East Postgraduate Research Group for the Long Nineteenth Century (NENC) invites proposals for a one-day postgraduate symposium held on Wednesday 12 September 2012.
The theme of the symposium reflects two parallel ‘moves’ towards science. First, it references the rise of the ‘natural sciences’, the scientific method, and the professional scientist across the long nineteenth century. Second, it recognises moves in contemporary arts and humanities scholarship towards a more nuanced disciplinary relationship with the sciences and the possibility of ‘one culture’.  Adopting an exploratory methodology, the day will allow postgraduate delegates to think widely about how literary culture of the period approached, adapted, and rejected emergent scientific, technological, and medical discourses and methods. More broadly, we will consider how and why literature and science might move together in the contemporary academy.
Ranging across the early modern period to the end of the long nineteenth century in their areas of specialisation, our guest speakers will consider in particular how they have approached or made use of scientific discourses in their own research. This will provide delegates with an opportunity to gain insight into some of the methodological and theoretical benefits and challenges of a turn towards science. Accordingly, we invite proposals from postgraduates for papers which broadly consider ‘moves’ towards science in the literature of the long nineteenth century, or in contemporary approaches to nineteenth-century literature.
Possible topics could include, but are not limited to:
  • Defining science then and now: shifting linguistic terms
  • Science in the public arena: the role of institutions in shaping relations between literature and science
  • The popularisation of science through literary forms: prose, poetry, periodical, and pamphlet
  • Reading in new ways: approaching the scientific text across disciplinary lines
  • Specialisation and the figure of the professional scientist
  • Evolution: approaches, responses, reactions
  • Developing narratives: the Enlightenment, discovery, invention
  • Science in literary forms and the literary form of science
  • Medicine and the burgeoning medical industry
  • Science at the margins: gender, class, race, and geography
  • The collaboration of scientific and literary circles
  • Science and anxiety: resistance to scientific ideas in literature
  • The rise of psychology and theories of the mind
  • Pseudoscience and quackery: authenticity, belief, demonstration, and revelation

Abstracts of 250 words for 20-minute papers should be submitted to by 30 July 2012.
The symposium is being generously supported by the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS) and by the three host Universities (Newcastle, Durham, and Northumbria). The day will therefore be free to attend, and we are delighted to be able to offer a number of postgraduate travel bursaries.
Please indicate in your abstract if you would like to be considered for a bursary.
For more information please visit the NENC website:

Le trésor caché

Hidden Treasure

A spectacular book with 450 images, celebrating the 175th anniversary of the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library.

Edited by Michael Sappol
Designed by Laura Lindgren
Photography by Arne Svenson

Hidden Treasure, a spectacular book with 450 images, celebrating the 175th anniversary of the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical liWith more than 17 million items dating from the eleventh century to the present, the National Library of Medicine, founded 175 years ago, is the world’s largest medical library—America’s home to a rich worldwide heritage of objects from rare early medical books to disturbing, precise nineteenth-century surgical illustrations to delightful mid-twentieth-century animated cartoons.

Despite more than a century and a half of classification and cataloguing, buried in the sheer mass of this collection are wondrous items largely unseen by the public and obscure even to librarians, curators, and historians. The individual objects—rare, extravagant, idiosyncratic, and sometimes surprising—brought to light in this book glow with beauty, grotesquery, wit and/or calamitous tragedy. Among the objects featured are a series never before reproduced of hauntingly delicate paintings and illustrations of “monstra” collected in the early decades of the nineteenth century “from the museum of Dr. Klinkenberg” in the Netherlands; charming hand-painted glass “magic lantern slides,” which doctors projected in slideshows to entertain and help cure inmates at St. Elizabeths Hospital for the Insane; the mimeographed report of the Japanese medical team first to enter Hiroshima after the atomic blast; surreal views of mechanically sliced cadavers in the photographic anatomical atlas of fin-de-siècle France’s notorious surgeon-provocateur Eugène-Louis Doyen; and a staggering variety of objects from around the world and through seven different centuries.

Each hidden treasure included here has been specially selected and is accompanied by a brief essay by a distinguished scholar, artist, collector, journalist, or physician. Delivered from the obscurity of the library’s massive archive, these marvels speak to us, charm us, repulse us, amaze us, inform us, and intrigue us—and present a tantalizing glimpse of some of the precious and remarkable objects to be found within one of the world’s great hidden treasures: the National Library of Medicine.

ABOUT THE EDITOR: Michael Sappol is curator-historian at the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine and the author of A Traffic of Dead Bodies and Dream Anatomy and co-editor of A Cultural History of the Body in the Age of Empire. His current work focuses on twentieth-century modernist medical illustration and the history of medical film.

ESSAYISTS IN THE BOOK ARE: Eva Åhrén, Bridie Andrews, Alexander Bay, Zoe Beloff, Timothy Billings, Sheila S. Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, Ron Broglio, Mikita Brottman, Liping Bu, David Cantor, Mary Cappello, Andrea Carlino, Nathaniel Comfort, Harold J. Cook, Pia F. Cuneo, Olaf Czaja, Luke Demaitre, Mark Dery, Shauna Devine, Elizabeth Fee, Mechthild Fend, Paula Findlen, Mary E. Fissell, Sander L. Gilman, Elisabeth Gitter, Tal Golan, Charles Hallisey, Marta Hanson, Mark Harrison, William H. Helfand, Steven Heller, Kathy High, Mami Hirose, Ludmilla Jordanova, Lauren Kassell, Mark Kessell, Nikolai Krementsov, Shigehisa Kuriyama, Hannah Landecker, Susan E. Lederer, Barron H. Lerner, Melissa Lo, Mark S. Micale, Maren Möhring, Sheena M. Morrison, Allison Muri, Sport Murphy, Marcia D. Nichols, Marianne Noble, Lisa O’Sullivan, Alyssa Picard, Rosamond Purcell, Anne Marie Rafferty, Sita Reddy, Elizabeth Reis, Benjamin Reiss, R. Roger Remington, Jeffrey S. Reznick, Michael Rhode, Stephen P. Rice, Harriet Ritvo, Charles Rosenberg, Michael Sappol, Emilie Savage-Smith, Jonathan Sawday, Walton O. Schalick, Antony Shugaar, Jonathan Smith, Jennifer Spinks, Claudia Stein, James Taylor, Paul Theerman, Charles W. J. Withers, Hiroo Yamagata

Medicine, history • hardcover • 10 x 11" • 240 pages • 450 color illustrations • $50.00 • ISBN 978-0-922233-42-7

vendredi 29 juin 2012

Histoire du soin

Care In The Past: Archaeological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

One of the major social challenges faced today is the provision of care for the elderly, the disabled and the young within society, with contemporary debates dominating local, national and global agendas. The importance of the study of care has been recognised by all research councils, resulting in the formation of the cross-council programme on Lifelong Health and Well-Being. In addition, the AHRC has highlighted the topic of Care in the Past as one of its four priority themes for current research, stressing the importance of historical knowledge in policy formation. Until recently the study of care has been shied away from in archaeological thought. However, cutting-edge research in both archaeology and bioarchaeology has begun generating questions that implicate care, particularly with regards to the social identity of those who required it. Such research, whilst promising, is still incipient, and the ways in which archaeology can contribute to and interact with other disciplines concerned with historical care have yet to be realised. This research dialogue will contribute to the greater awareness of this emerging research field by allowing engagement between academics and research students from multiple disciplines. As such, we are keen to invite both attendance and participation from individuals from all backgrounds who have an interest in historic notions of care, medicine and treatment.

Saturday 6th October 2012 - Joachin Room, College of St. Hild and St. Bede
The culmination of the research dialogue will be a one-day conference showcasing emerging original inter-disciplinary research in this field from both within and outside the university. We invite submissions for papers of no more than 20 minutes showcasing original research examining notions and practices of care from all historic periods and disciplines. We particularly welcome interdisciplinary approaches that utilise archaeological evidence alongside other sources. Abstracts should be no more than 500 words, and should be submitted to

The deadline for submissions is the 20th July 2012. The authors of accepted papers will be notified by the 3rd August.
We will also welcome the submission of poster presentations along the themes of the conference. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words.
Lindsay Powell and Will Southwell-Wright
Care in the Past Research Dialogue Co-ordinators
Department of Archaeology, Durham University

La peste à Milan à la fin du Moyen-âge

Sustaining Plague Mortality in Late Medieval Milan: Environmental Patterns and Non-Plague Causes of Death

a lecture by Ann G. Carmichael, M.D., Ph.D. (Associate Professor Emerita, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA)

The Wellcome Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities 2012 Summer Seminar, 'Health and Disease in the Middle Ages'

3pm-4pm, 20th July 2012
Wellcome Collection Conference Centre
183 Euston Road

The lecture is free to attend. To reserve a space, please email Ross MacFarlane (

Abstract: This talk will parse diagnoses of cause of death in Milan during the Sforza era, 1450-1524, using surviving urban mortality registers. With some lacunae, records that span three generations provide extraordinary detail for this time period. Diagnoses were recorded by the dukes' Health Office, from oral and written reports made by physicians and surgeons in the metropolitan zone. Partial records survive from three severe plagues, from some epidemics of mixed plague and general crisis mortality, and from a few years of distinctively non-plague epidemic mortality. In all years, reporting diagnosticians were required to provide explanation for the death of every individual over age two years at death, if only to differentiate suspected cases of plague from non-suspect mortality. Every victim was further named and identified by parish, sector of the city, or other geographical locator. Often the physicians and surgeons offer far more detail than this minimum. From aggregate analysis of these records (a set of over 140,000 individual cases), the talk will explore questions that historians must now confront, now that we know late medieval plagues included deaths from Yersinia pestis. Plagues were multi-year crises, thus what human actions and environments helped to sustain plague mortality? What larger temporal and spatial patterns can we discern in the cases that these diagnosticians identified as plague deaths? What social and physical aspects of the natural and built environments were associated with higher plague mortality? In what ways did non-plague epidemics differ?

Histoire d'os


The Florence Nightingale Museum, London, July 19th-August 31 2012

1908 x-ray of Parissien woman in a whalebone corset.
Exiting upcoming exhibit alert just in from my friend Natasha McEnroe at the Florence Nightingale Museum:
19 July – 31 August 2012
Florence Nightingale Museum
2 Lambeth Palace Road London SE1 7EW
This summer, the Florence Nightingale Museum will host an eclectic exhibition of around 60 objects that explores the rich history and substance of bone, across cultures, throughout time and between disciplines.
Mobile Studio Architects will transform part of the museum allowing visitors to explore objects including an x-ray of Sigmund Freud's head, a cat skeleton to ward off evil spirits, a skull shaped candle made for Marilyn Manson's wedding, a contemporary apothecary jar showing the effects of syphilis on bone, cutting edge medical bone imaging and Florence Nightingale’s pet tortoise ‘Jimmy’.
The exhibition will reflect bone’s intriguing and multi-faceted story in its objects as well as through live performances and demonstrations by biomedical researchers and clinicians, forensic archaeologists, bone carvers, dancers, historians, artists and other professional bone users. 
Simon Gould, BONE Curator says:
“I am so excited to be bringing together some of the most extraordinary objects from more than a dozen of London’s museums and collections along with remarkable medical expertise and acclaimed contemporary artists. Bone is an astonishing material and this exhibition promises to bring this to life for the visitor.”
Natasha McEnroe, Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum says:
“In the heart of London’s Southbank in this Olympic year, we are thrilled to be hosting BONE and to offer our visitors an even more inspiring experience. Following the museum’s hugely successful refurbishment in 2010, this multi-disciplinary exhibition will further establish the Florence Nightingale Museum’s position on London’s cultural and scientific map”.
More can be found here.

jeudi 28 juin 2012

Les souris de la biomédecine

Making Mice: Standardizing Animals for American Biomedical Research, 1900-1955

Karen Rader

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (July 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691016364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691016368
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.6 x 2.4 cm
 Making Mice blends scientific biography, institutional history, and cultural history to show how genetically standardized mice came to play a central role in contemporary American biomedical research.
Karen Rader introduces us to mouse "fanciers" who bred mice for different characteristics, to scientific entrepreneurs like geneticist C. C. Little, and to the emerging structures of modern biomedical research centered around the National Institutes of Health. Throughout Making Mice, Rader explains how the story of mouse research illuminates our understanding of key issues in the history of science such as the role of model organisms in furthering scientific thought. Ultimately, genetically standardized mice became icons of standardization in biomedicine by successfully negotiating the tension between the natural and the man-made in experimental practice.
This book will become a landmark work for its understanding of the cultural and institutional origins of modern biomedical research. It will appeal not only to historians of science but also to biologists and medical researchers.


Emergence du corps dans la Grèce antique

The Symptom and the Subject: The Emergence of the Physical Body in Ancient Greece 

Brooke Holmes

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (July 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691138990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691138992
 The Symptom and the Subject takes an in-depth look at how the physical body first emerged in the West as both an object of knowledge and a mysterious part of the self. Beginning with Homer, moving through classical-era medical treatises, and closing with studies of early ethical philosophy and Euripidean tragedy, this book rewrites the traditional story of the rise of body-soul dualism in ancient Greece. Brooke Holmes demonstrates that as the body (sôma) became a subject of physical inquiry, it decisively changed ancient Greek ideas about the meaning of suffering, the soul, and human nature.
By undertaking a new examination of biological and medical evidence from the sixth through fourth centuries BCE, Holmes argues that it was in large part through changing interpretations of symptoms that people began to perceive the physical body with the senses and the mind. Once attributed primarily to social agents like gods and daemons, symptoms began to be explained by physicians in terms of the physical substances hidden inside the person. Imagining a daemonic space inside the person but largely below the threshold of feeling, these physicians helped to radically transform what it meant for human beings to be vulnerable, and ushered in a new ethics centered on the responsibility of taking care of the self.
The Symptom and the Subject highlights with fresh importance how classical Greek discoveries made possible new and deeply influential ways of thinking about the human subject.


Histoire de la médecine militaire

An international conference exploring the history of military medicine and health care.

This international conference will take place at the Army Medical Services Museum, Ash Vale, Hampshire from 3 – 5 April 2013 and will explore all aspects of military medicine and health care from antiquity to the 20th century.

If you are interested in presenting at this event please complete the form below and attach an abstract of not more than 300 words outlining the main points and conclusions of your presentation. Oral presentations will last 30 minutes with 10 minutes for questions and be grouped into appropriate sessions.

Poster Presentations.
Posters are invited and abstracts should be submitted as above. If selected the poster should be 122cms x 92cms, Landscape (not portrait) and fixed by Velcro dots which will be provided. Further details will be provided if selected.

Forms should be returned by 1 September 2012 to: The Director, AMS Museum, Keogh Barracks, Ash Vale, GU12 5RQ, UK. 01252 868820 or with Conference paper in the subject box.

mercredi 27 juin 2012

Histoire de sens

Theodor Rombouts: The Allegory Of the 5 Senses

Ways of Knowing the World: History and the Senses

Call For Papers

April 20, 2013
Hagley Museum and Library
Wilmington, DE

The Hagley Graduate Program at the University of Delaware invites scholars across disciplines to submit proposals for our biennial conference to be held April 20, 2013. We seek submissions which consider the historic role of sensory perception in the human experience-including those that look beyond the Aristotelian conception of the five senses.

Like all animals, human beings rely on their array of senses to interpret their changing environments. In the last few hundred years a wide range of technologies has extended human sensory experiences transforming the ways in which people navigated and engaged with the world. We imagine a conversation that might include but is not limited to the following questions: How have societies constructed the meaning of various senses? How have our sensory experiences been mediated by technology? How and why have specific cultures prioritized certain senses over others? How have human beings utilized animal sensory capabilities? What are the ramifications of the truly novel sensory experience created by sonic warfare, genetic mapping, mass advertising, or industrialized food systems? In what ways does studying the senses clarify the historical tension between epistemological and ontological perceptions?

The Hagley Fellows have been holding biennial conferences since 1989. We welcome proposals by both established scholars and graduate students.
Financial assistance for travel may be available for conference presenters. Please send a 300-word abstract and a one-page CV to the Hagley Fellows at by December 31, 2012.

For more information, visit

Origines et Formation de la Médecine Traditionnelle Chinoise

Recherches sur les Origines et la Formation de la Médecine Traditionnelle Chinoise :Un guide de référence du Classique de l'Intérieur de l'Empereur Jaune Huang Di Nei Jing et de ses origines

Ernesto Nastari-Micheli

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2012 edition (July 31 2012)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 281780189X
  • ISBN-13: 978-2817801896
Cet ouvrage présente le Corpus médical de l’Empereur Jaune, le Huang Di Nei Jing, un ensemble de textes chinois compilés il y a 2000 ans environ. Il s’agit d’une œuvre composite, une recension qui peut être considérée comme l’équivalent extrême-oriental du Corpus médical d’Hippocrate. Ces textes ont eu une grande importance culturelle et ont été à la base de tous les autres ouvrages chinois et d’Extrême-Orient, d’acupuncture et de moxibustion. Le livre traite spécialement de l'histoire ancienne de ce corpus, à partir de son origine jusqu’à la fin du Moyen Âge chinois (+581) au travers d’une approche didactique. L’ouvrage proposé est enrichi de deux courts essais finaux : l’un sur le Corpus hippocratique de la Grèce Antique et l’autre présentant les traductions en langues occidentales de ce Corpus. Il s’adresse aux étudiants, aux médecins spécialisés en médecine traditionnelle chinoise et à toute personne intéressée par cette thématique.

Mallette médicale de 1817 aux enchères !

Turkey rhubarb with a dash of laudanum, anyone? Medicine chest 'time capsule' that reveals the exotic potions used by doctors in 1817 goes on sale

  • Perfectly preserved mahogany box found at house in Derbyshire 
  • Comes complete with 29 bottled concoctions
  • Remedies include Manna, Steers's Opodeldoc and peppermint water
  • Expected to fetch over £3,000 at auction

It contains a collection of healing potions and cure-alls unlikely to be prescribed by any GP today.
But a perfectly preserved medicine chest dating back to the reign of George III is expected to fetch more than £3,000 when it sells at auction later this week.
The mahogany box, described as a 'medicinal time capsule', comes complete with 29 exotically named bottled concoctions that would have been used by doctors to treat ailments such as gout, depression and indigestion.

However, the likes of Laudanum - described in an accompanying handbook as 'as one of the most valuable medicines afflicted with mankind' - are now strictly controlled. 
This is not that surprising as Laudanum, an alcoholic herb preparation, contains opium.
Other remedies popular in 1817, when the chest was made up, such as Turkey rhubarb (a plant thought to have healing properties), and cream of tartar (a byproduct of winemaking that was used as a laxative), have long since been replaced by more modern medicines.

The chest was discovered in a house in Derbyshire. 
Auctioneer Charles Hanson, who will oversee its sale in Derby on Saturday, said it may have been used out of hours by a doctor on call, or owned by the family of a large country house to carry with them on a long journey by horse and carriage.
Mr Hanson, who has appeared on BBC1’s Bargain Hunt, added: 'It would appear the chest, which dates back to the early 19th century, has been untouched for almost 200 years. 
'It is wonderfully complete. It even has its original companion instruction book on how to apply the medicinal potions in the glass bottles, and what they may cure.
'I suspect the box was only used once or twice to administer medicines and has then been hidden away in an old country attic or cellar for almost two centuries.'
As well as the bottled medicines, the chest also contains a complete set of utensils including scales, mixing bowls and a scalpel.
Mr Hanson said: 'The bottles are a variety of colour, with liquid and solid contents from the Georgian period still visible. 
'It is a medicine chest far removed from today’s practising doctors.'
The handbook claims that 'diseases which threaten the most fatal consequences may be averted or subdued by the exercise of good sense and prudence and by timely recourse to the medicine chest'.
It adds that the medicines 'are of the best quality and are selected for their efficacy. The doses are in general smaller than professional men might deem necessary'.
The booklets also contains a description of each remedy, and what it should be used for.

It states that 'Turkey rhubarb is an admirable medicine for disorder of the bowel. The dose is ten to thirty grains mixed with peppermint water.'
A bottle of Laudanum in the chest 'seldom fails to occasion a calmness and quietude in the system whence its use in gout and spasmodic disorders', according to the guide.

And a teaspoonful of ‘spirit of lavender’ is 'useful for cases of depression, sickness and languor'.
The chest was made up a year before the first successful blood transfusion, and 30 years before the first painless surgery with general anaesthetic.
It wasn’t until 1870, 53 years later, that Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch established that germs - and not miasma, or ‘bad air’ - caused diseases, leading to important innovations such as antibiotics and hygiene practices.
Mr Hanson said: 'The chest is a time capsule from the very early 19th century when medical advances were on the threshold.
'I hope it is purchased by a doctor or medical professional who can appreciate how far we have come in the last 195 years!'
The chest will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers in a fine art sale at their showroom in Etwall, Derby.

mardi 26 juin 2012

La musique pathogène

Bad Vibrations

The History of the Idea of Music as a Cause of Disease

James Kennaway, Durham University, UK

  • Imprint: Ashgate
  • Illustrations: Includes 7 b&w illustrations
  • Published: July 2012
  • Format: 234 x 156 mm
  • Extent: 226 pages
  • Binding: Hardback
  • ISBN: 978-1-4094-2642-4
 Music has been used as a cure for disease since as far back as King David's lyre, but the notion that it might be a serious cause of mental and physical illness was rare until the late eighteenth century. At that time, physicians started to argue that excessive music, or the wrong kind of music, could over-stimulate a vulnerable nervous system, leading to illness, immorality and even death. Since then there have been successive waves of moral panics about supposed epidemics of musical nervousness, caused by everything from Wagner to jazz and rock 'n' roll. It was this medical and critical debate that provided the psychiatric rhetoric of "degenerate music" that was the rationale for the persecution of musicians in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. By the 1950s, the focus of medical anxiety about music shifted to the idea that "musical brainwashing" and "subliminal messages" could strain the nerves and lead to mind control, mental illness and suicide. More recently, the prevalence of sonic weapons and the use of music in torture in the so-called War on Terror have both made the subject of music that is bad for the health worryingly topical.
This book outlines and explains the development of this idea of pathological music from the Enlightenment until the present day, providing an original contribution to the history of medicine, music and the body. 

Contents: Introduction: musical orders and disorders; From sensibility to pathology: nervous music, 1700-1850; Modern music and nervous modernity: Wagnerism as a disease of civilization, 1850-1914; Pathological music, politics and race: Germany and the United States, 1900-45; Music as mind control, music as weapon: pathological music since 1945; Bibliography; Index. 

About the Author: James Kennaway is a historian of medicine, with a joint appointment in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Medicine and Health at Durham University. He specializes in the relationship between music, aesthetics and the body, with broad research interests in the history of physical and mental illness.


Doctorat en histoire des produits chimiques

Chemicals and their Users in the British Home, 1930s-1980s

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

An AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award studentship covering stipend and tuition fee costs is offered in the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion at Oxford Brookes University (OBU) in collaboration with the Science Museum.
This project aims to examine the relationship between the public and chemistry in hitherto unexplored manner. While the introduction of electricity into the home has attracted much interest, the introduction of branded chemical products into the home has not been examined by historians at all. Yet the introduction of these products was linked to a major shift in the way that people engaged with chemistry. This shift took place in the 1960s and 1970s, when it is often assumed that public trust in chemistry waned. By studying chemicals and their use in the home before, during, and after this period, this project will therefore not only explore people's relationship to chemistry, but it will also investigate how and why public attitudes towards it changed in the third quarter of the 20th century.
Oral history will play an important part in this study. A public appeal will also be made for donations of home recipes and notebooks. The project will therefore not only involve the use of existing oral histories, museum collections of chemicals and packaging, and archives, but will also include an important element of resource creation. The PhD student, who will be based within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at OBU, will acquire training in oral history and other research methods, as well as gain experience in handling museum collections, curating an exhibition, and organising public demonstrations with household chemicals.
Supervision will be available from Dr Viviane Quirke (OBU) and Dr Peter Morris (Science Museum). The studentship will be based in Oxford with periods spent in London and elsewhere in the UK, particularly in the second year, when the student will carry out interviews and do research in the Science Museum, in the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, and in other archives. OBU and the Science Museum are vibrant research communities. The successful candidate will be expected to participate fully in the life of both communities.
By the commencement of the PhD studentship in October 2012, applicants should have completed a good first degree and a postgraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as Modern British History, History of Science, Technology and Medicine (HSTM), Science and Technology Studies (STS), Sociology, and/or Anthropology.
Applicants must also be UK or EU citizens and be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. Further information on eligibility requirements is available in the Guide to Student Funding on the AHRC website:
How to Apply
To request an application pack , please email:
Charmian Hearne,  Research Administrator, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Tel tel: + 44 (0) 1865 48 4998

The deadline for applications is 9 July 2012 and hard copy applications should be sent to:
Charmian HearneResearch AdministratorFaculty of Humanities and Social SciencesOxford Brookes UniversityGipsy Lane CampusHeadingtonOxford, OX3 0BP

It is anticipated that interviews will take place at Oxford Brookes University during the week of 30 July 2012. For more on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at OBU please visit our web site at:
For informal enquiries concerning the project contact Dr Viviane Quirke (

Closing date: 09 July 2012

Recension "Manuel d'Histoire de la médecine"

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine

Mark Jackson
Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN: 9780199546497; 696pp.; Price: £95.00

Review by Dr Ian Miller
University College Dublin
The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine appears at a critical moment for medical history; in a period when its practitioners are being forced to re-evaluate their aims and agendas in the face of shifting funding priorities and disciplinary angst. Just a few years, one leading medical historian publicly declared that medical history was ‘dead’, or was at least heading that way. Puzzled critics of this opinion mostly dismissed it as unnecessarily alarmist, although what the announcement did encourage was a rethinking of the potential directions that medical history could pursue, or should be pursuing. Many of the contributions to the handbook are framed in relation to these concerns. The contributions to Jackson’s impressive volume offer introductory accounts of key areas in the history of medicine, as well as providing accessible and informative overviews of historiographical research undertaken. Yet they also identify the historiographical trends that have characterised and shaped scholarship in the area and then utilise these as platforms for discussing the questions, sources and methods which, in the opinion of the individual contributors, should direct future scholarly research and potentially rescue the field from an anticipated untimely death. In consequence, the handbook will have a broad appeal, speaking to both non-specialists and established practitioners of the history of medicine.
Medical history is a uniquely diverse discipline that incorporates a range of methodological approaches. Academic medical historians loosely unite themselves around an agenda of critically assessing past medical behaviour, practices and identities as a means of replacing the positivistic accounts of medical history typically penned by practising medical professions some decades ago. Beyond this remit, however, medical historians have free reign to draw upon whichever intellectual and methodological resources they choose. Whether the diversity that this produces benefits or inhibits the discipline remains a matter of debate. However, what does become clear from the intellectually rich chapters offered in this volume is that medicine and health have proven central to virtually all areas of human existence, be they political, social, cultural or intellectual; a scenario that allows historians to connect their research to various different ‘types’ of history. This makes the frequent side-lining of medicine by ‘mainstream’ history all the more puzzling. As a discipline, medical history regularly encourages research that is policy driven, of relevance to modern day bodily concerns, and, importantly, of public interest.
In recent decades, medical history has changed dramatically. It therefore comes as little surprise to find that Jackson’s volume differs dramatically from its closest predecessor: William F. Bynum and Roy Porter’s impressive Companion Encyclopaedia of the History of Medicine published in 1992.(1)Rather than restricting the structure of his volume to the themes which the non-specialist reader might expect to discover (e.g. humoralism, hospitals, pathological anatomy, laboratory medicine and so on), Jackson responds to shifting historiographical trends by incorporating chapters that cover important historical topics including the medicalisation of death (an area impressively developed in recent years by contributor Julie-Marie Strange); the interdependence of animal and human medicine (an exciting research area discussed here by Robert G. W. Kirk and Michael Worboys) and health and sexuality (as demonstrated by Gayle Davis), among many other themes.
The volume is split into three distinct sections. The first of these, entitled ‘periods’, traces the development of medical ideas and practice chronologically over time. The reader’s attention is drawn to the surprising diversity of ancient medicine, medical practice at the medieval bedside, the emergence of colonial medicine as western societies expanded geographically, and the rise of modern forms of biomedicine and biopolitics as governmental intervention and medical professionalisation began impacting profoundly upon how we manage our bodies and how they are socially regulated. Virginia Berridge concludes the first section with an insightful discussion of contemporary medicine, an area that directly addresses modern concerns such as HIV/AIDS and smoking. All of these contributions provide a useful chronological backdrop, equipping readers with an overview of key developments and themes in medicine across an expansive timeframe.
After establishing this broad chronology of medical history, Jackson’s contributors continue by inviting the reader to consider how medicine has developed and varied geographically. The scope of global medicine covered here is impressive. Alongside expected areas such as the rise of western medicine and colonial medicine, the volume’s contributors draw attention to less familiar areas. These include Eastern European medicine, expertly discussed by Marius Turda who suggests that the liberation of eastern scholarship from ideological manipulation and biased interpretations has engendered a rich tradition of investigations into that region’s medical past; Chinese medicine, portrayed by Vivienne Lo and Stanley Michael-Baxter as a fruitful area of historical inquiry whose influence continues to extend beyond China itself; and Australian medicine which, as Linda Bryder demonstrates, developed in relation to notions of ‘whiteness’ and ‘purity’, racially-charged concepts that had important implications for public health and social hygiene campaigns in Australia. Various forms of medicine are shown to have developed globally and interacted in complex ways. It was not always the case that western colonisers sought to supplant non-western medical practices. Instead, discrete regional medical traditions intersected in diverse and intricate ways; sometimes integrating with one another, sometimes clashing. All of the contributions in this section make clear that the history of medicine in non-western regions should not be written from western perspectives or be concerned only with the diseases and practices recognised by the west. Indigenous traditions also need to be assessed on their own terms.
The third section, entitled ‘themes and methods’, adopts a more thematic approach and opens with fascinating contributions on the medicalisation of age by Alysa Levene and Susannah Ottaway. As a meaningful category, childhood has had an extremely fluid history, whilst it is only relatively recently that specialisms such as paediatrics have emerged in a form familiar to us today. Levene demonstrates how youth became compartmentalised into discrete categories of infanthood, childhood and adolescence in the modern period; a development with important medical implications as physicians and paediatricians began approaching diseases and complaints specifically associated with childhood from around the 19th century, while simultaneously delineating ‘normal’ conditions of parental care and nurturing. Ottaway, meanwhile, approaches the issue of age from the other end of the spectrum: old age. As life expectancy rose from the late 19th century, new questions were raised regarding how best to care for an ageing population. Contemporaneously, medical and scientific investigators strove to ascertain the biology of ageing, as well as conditions such as the menopause. Bodies do not remain temporally static but are constantly changing and ageing. How these processes have been understood, and how particular medical complaints at different stages of the life cycle, form a fascinating area of historical study.
Further contributions in this section suggest that chronic illness should occupy a more important position within medical history, a discipline often dominated by efforts to map the history of contagious epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis and cholera. Although not always life-threatening, an array of other bodily complaints has impacted detrimentally upon personal well-being whilst shaping the day-to-day work of physicians. As Carsten Timmermann persuasively argues, in many ways chronic disease emerged as a distinct medical category only in the early 20th century, a scenario that fostered inaccurate presumptions that those living in earlier periods were more prone to suffering from acute, infectious diseases. Modernity itself has been cited as a prime cause of chronic illnesses including peptic ulcer disease, diabetes and constipation. Yet complaints such as these have a much longer history, whilst their impact upon quality of life demarcates them as important areas of historical inquiry. Public health, meanwhile, is expertly dealt with by Christopher Hamlin, who demonstrates how, from the 19th century, public health officials and medical investigators became convinced of the personal and social benefits of cleanliness, sanitation and health policing. Their views were, to a certain extent, cemented by the gradual acceptance of germs theory later that century. Developments such as these had ramifications for virtually all aspects of personal and communal life including domestic life, workplace activity and the regulation of cities and towns. Public health was one means of rendering infectious disease more manageable, the successes of which partially explain why chronic illness became emphasised during the 20th century.
Public health was, of course, not the only arena in which medical authority expanded historically. For instance, working life became increasingly regulated by new standards of health and risk prevention over the last two centuries. The Industrial Revolution spawned a new set of workplace hazards and health concerns, allowing members of the medical community to extend their authority over working lives, a theme discussed in Christopher Sellers’ contribution on health, work and the environment. Medicine has also increasingly intervened in more private arenas such as sexuality. This is astutely demonstrated by Gayle Davis who maps a range of debates including late 19th-century medical responses to prostitution, which notoriously investigated the bodies of female prostitutes through harsh routines of medical inspection whilst neglecting to target the bodies of men who used their services. Davis also discusses how medicine framed homosexuality as a dangerous and pathological state until relatively recently. New sciences of sexuality emerged in the early 20th century and contributed to this discourse by further delineating the boundaries between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ sexual behaviour. Over the last 200 years or so, medical thought and practice clearly came to provide a pervasive framework that structured working life and intimate behaviour. Society, in many ways, became medicalised, whilst our lives became increasingly impacted upon by that shift.
Physical medicine is mostly awarded preference over psychiatric and psychological medicine within Jackson’s volume. From the 19th century, large publicly-funded asylums were constructed in many western countries designed to house those deemed as suffering from ever expanding categories of mental disorder. During the following century, new psychological sciences emerged that forced a consideration of how abstract psychological processes might influence personalities and behavioural patterns. Mental illness crops up relatively infrequently within this volume. However, an important chapter on medicine and the mind is offered by Rhodri Hayward, who points to the uneasy positioning of the mind sciences in modern medicine; an area of medical activity where reputations have been notoriously tarnished by concerns over electric shock therapy, indiscriminate institutionalisation and psychosurgery. Psychiatry and psychology are disciplines where knowledge has often proven less certain and less concrete in comparison to physical medicine. As chapters such as Hayward’s suggest, medical knowledge is not produced in an isolated vacuum. Instead, it is very much shaped by the society, culture and political environment within which it is produced. This is especially the case when the causes of physical or psychological sickness are unclear and hard to pin down. Instead, investigators look for causative factors outside of the body when attempting to comprehend illness and bodily disorder. Although clearly diverse, all of the contributions to this final thematic section collectively establish medical history as a vibrant area of enquiry which has much to say about present-day concerns relating to health and medicine.
Overall, Mark Jackson’s The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine provides an ambitious, up-to-date and thought-provoking overview of the key themes, methodologies and debates in medical history. It offers a large-scale review of the field expertly penned by leading international scholars, providing introductory chapters to 34 different topics as well as offering suggestions to other researchers as to some of the directions that future research could productively pursue. As a guide to medical history, it is virtually flawless, meaning that the volume’s contributions will remain on academic reading lists for decades to come. It would be easy, given the limitations of space in volumes such as these, to pick out inevitable omissions, so I will refrain from doing so. But I did wonder, given recent shifts in medical history, what future the editor foresees for some of the categories of analysis most commonly associated with medical history but not discussed in specific chapters in this volume, such as medical reform, or the development of medical sub-disciplines such as pathological anatomy, nutrition, nursing, hospitals, medical technologies, and so on.