add contact to address book
View Curriculum Vitae
Martin S. Pernick, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, studies the history of value issues in medicine, and the historical connections between medicine and mass culture. He received a Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University. Prior to his arrival at Michigan in 1979 he taught at the Harvard School of Public Health, and at the Pennsylvania State University Medical Center at Hershey. He has published two books: A Calculus of Suffering (1985), on professional and cultural attitudes towards pain and anesthesia in 19th century America; and The Black Stork (1996), on eugenics and euthanasia in American medicine and motion pictures. In addition, he has published numerous articles on the histories of: medicine in motion pictures, definitions of death and of disability, eugenics and public health, medical professionalism, the cultural politics of epidemics, informed consent, and the relation between history and bioethics.
Professor Pernick's Faculty Fellowship project is titled “Disease and the Racial Division of Labor in America.” Race-based enslavement of Native Americans and African Americans, and their employment in plantation agriculture, was the most dramatic example of a larger phenomenon he calls “medically-based racial division of labor,” in which medical concepts assigned many different racial and ethnic groups to specific labor roles. Medically based racial divisions of labor constitute a distinct theme that runs throughout American medical and social history; a twisted but continuous thread that connects opposing sides of the debates over slavery and abolition, western and overseas expansion, immigration and industrial management, from the centuries. Some examples such as the medical defense of slavery are relatively familiar, but others are new and surprising, while studying them together provides an important new comparative perspective that reconceptualizes the role of medicine in the construction of race, disease, and labor.
Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies
Haven HallRoom 1521435 South State St.
Ann Arbor, MI