History | Doctors, Patients, Health and Illness: An Introduction to the History of Western Medicine from Antiquity to the Present
W200 | 16913 | Maglen

Above class open to undergraduates only

Medical history is an exciting sub-field of history that has grown
in importance over the past three decades. It is no longer
principally a tale of great doctors and inevitable progress. Rather,
today’s history of medicine seeks to situate stories of health and
illness within deeper historical contexts and enhance our
understanding of past societies. A basic premise of this course is
that the history of medicine can only be understood in the context
of the society of which it is a part. Thus, we will devote as much
attention as possible to the patient’s side of the story (what is
often referred to as ‘doing medical history from below’); to
community and family care as well as to hospitals; to all forms of
medical training (academic and apprentice, formal and informal); to
epidemics and their meanings; to folk and popular healing; to the
role of race and gender in medicine; and to the profound ethical
questions that have always been part of medicine. We will begin with
Greco-Roman medicine and end in the early twenty-first century.
Classes will consist of a mixture of lectures and discussions.