School of Social and Political Science

History of Medicine

Content

A general introduction to the history of medicine in Western society from the Ancient Greeks to the present.

This course will examine how doctors have thought about health and illness over the past two and a half thousand years and will raise general questions about the historical origins of modern scientific medicine, the role of experts in society, the extent and limits of applicability of scientific thinking, and the relationship between scientific research and public policy. Special attention will be paid to how different systems of medical knowledge, and the diagnostic and therapeutic practices associated with them, were adapted to the particular social and historical environments in which they developed.

Themes include:

  • Greco-Roman medicine
  • Renaissance anatomy
  • The medical marketplace
  • Medicine in The Enlightenment
  • The changing role of hospitals
  • Laboratory medicine
  • Eugenics and human experiment
  • Patient power
  • The pharmaceutical industry
  • To provide a general introduction to the history of Western Medicine from the ancient Greeks to the present day
  • To examine the different ways that medical practitioners have thought about health and illness over the past two and a half thousand years
  • To raise general questions about the historical origins of modern scientific medicine
  • To introduce the changing role of experts in society, historical shifts in concepts of the body and of disease, and the changing understanding and impact of epidemics from antiquity to the present day
  • To show how different systems of medical knowledge, and the diagnostic and therapeutic practices associated with them, were adapted to the particular social and historical environments in which they developed

This is a level 8 course with 20 credits

There will be 3 lectures per week in Semester 1