STS 2071 Introduction to the History of Medicine
This course offers an introductory survey of the history of medicine (principally in Europe and the United States) from classical antiquity to the early twentieth century. Using a combination of both primary and secondary sources, students will learn about the “Hippocratic Heritage” of contemporary western medicine; medicine in late antiquity; faith and healing in the medieval period; medicine and knowledge in the Islamic world; medicine during the Renaissance (particularly the rise of the mechanical philosophy); medicine in the age of Enlightenment; professionalization, women-doctors and midwives, and battles over ‘quackery’ in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the role of medicine in colonialism and empire; and the promises and perils of modern medicine (dramatic decreases in mortality on the one hand, the rise of Eugenics and the importance of Medicine to the National Socialist State on the other). As well as this temporal survey, we will consider a number of ongoing themes: race, bodily difference, and medicine; medicine and the environment; women, gender, and medicine; the history of the body; the history of sexuality; and the close connections between forms of social order and forms of medical knowledge. The course meets three times a week (for two lectures and a section) and is open to all.