Unprecedented technical advances and dramatic cultural changes transformed the health of Americans and the power of the healing professions since 1875. This course will examine how changes in gender, race, economics, and politics, and in the cultural meanings of disease and science, interacted with new technical discoveries to alter medicine, health, and society.
The course is not a comprehensive overview of post-1875 medical history, but will focus on selected specific topics chosen to illustrate the variety of subjects and methods in the historical study of disease and healing. The goal is not to teach you the history of medicine, but to teach you how to do your own research in medical history sources, to examine a few selected models of how others have done such research, and to provide in-depth experience in using the tools of medical history research for yourself.
Students are expected to read and discuss thoughtfully about 150 pages per week. A 15-page paper based on original historical research, a weekly journal, and one 5-page book review paper are required.
This is a rewarding but rigorous and demanding course, intended only for those who are able to maintain a consistently high level of independent effort throughout the term.
Class is discussion format, with occasional short lectures.