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Level 5

5AAH3006 History of Medicine from Antiquity to the Present

Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor 2018/19: Dr Caitjan Gainty and Dr Philippa Hellawell
Teaching pattern 2018/19: 20 x 2 hour seminars (weekly)
AvailabilityPlease see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%), 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each) & 1 x oral presentation (10%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment by the following methods: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%); 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each); 1 x 1500 word essay (10%)

N.B. This module cannot be taken in conjunction with 5AAH1030 or 5AAH1031 due to overlap of content.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This module provides an introduction to the history of medicine and health from antiquity to the present. It offers students the opportunity to develop a specialised interest in medical history, and to understand changing cultures of health and healing in their social, cultural and political context. The module introduces key sources available to the medical historian, and the challenges in using and interpreting them. The module enables students to explore, for instance, the relationship between medicine and religion, the evolving role of states and local governments for public health, changing understandings of the body and disease, and the role of medicine in warfare. Previous knowledge of medicine or medical history is not required.

Provisional teaching plan

Semester 1

1. Course overview
2. Concepts of Health and Disease
3. The Greats: Hippocrates, Aristotle and Galen
4. The Body: Perception and Uses
5. Places of Healing: from Aesclepieia to Christian Hospitals
6. Translations: Greek to Arabic, Arabic to Latin
7.Epidemics: the Limits of Ancient Medicine
8. Practitioners: from Traveling Physicians to University Masters
9. Archive visit
10. Anatomy in the Renaissance

Semester 2

11. Anatomic Practices in Early Modern Europe
12. Plagues and Peoples
13. Healing and the Medical Marketplace
14. Reproductive Bodies
15. Therapy and Effectiveness
16. The Lab and the Clinic
17. Presentations
18. The Modern Body
19. The Heart, the Brain and Death
20. Medicine as Modern System

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

Mark Jackson, ed. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine (Oxford: OUP, 2011) 

L. Conrad, M. Neve, V. Nutton, R. Porter, and A. Wear, eds, The Western Medical Tradition: 800 BC to AD 1800 (1995).

Vivian Nutton, Ancient Medicine (London 2004).

Nancy Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine: An Introduction to Knowledge and Practice (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1990)

W. F. Bynum et al., The Western Medical Tradition: 1800 to 2000 (2006).

Peter Elmer (ed.), The Healing Arts: Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1500-1800 (2003).

Mary Lindemann, Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe (1999).

Roy Porter, 'The Greatest Benefit to Mankind': A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present (1997)

John Pickstone and Roger Cooter, eds., Companion to Medicine in the Twentieth Century, (London: Routledge, 2003)

John Harley Warner, The Therapeutic Perspective, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014)

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