Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology (Hilary Term, Week 2)

Who? This term’s first lecture will be given by Dr Taline Garibian.

What? ‘Proving violence: forensics and war crimes during the First World War’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 27th January 2020, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Opening hours: 20th – 24th January

Next week, the History of Medicine Library will be staffed:

Monday 20th: 2.15pm-5pm
Tuesday 21st: 
2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday 22nd: 
2.15pm-4.30pm
Thursday 23rd: 
2.15pm-5pm
Friday 24th: 
2.15pm-5pm

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a splendid weekend!

Warwick Mechanics Institution Perambulating Library. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

McGovern Lecture on the History of Medicine – ‘A Medical Commander In Rwanda 1994: Stabling The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse’

Who? Major General Professor Alan Hawley CBE will be speaking about ‘A Medical Commander In Rwanda 1994: Stabling The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse’.

He ‘studied medicine at the University of Birmingham and then joined the British Army as a doctor. His military experience included the command of the Parachute Medical Regiment and operational experience in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. He was the medical commander in most of these deployments which made him the most operationally experienced British Army Medical Commander since the Second World War. He completed 34 years of service and left in 2009 to take up a Professorial appointment in Disaster Studies. He is currently settling into academic life again as a theology undergraduate at Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford.’

What? ‘In 1994 the world witnessed one of the most devastating episodes of genocide ever perpetrated. The United Kingdom deployed a force of 650 to be part of the United Nations response to the disaster. This lecture will feature the experience of Alan Hawley as the medical commander of the British contingent. He will offer a personal view of the politics, realities and ethics of the situation in Rwanda. He will cover the change in the situation from murder and lawlessness to a more stable state of equilibrium and touch on the human cost of the deployment.

Where? Green Templeton College.

When? Wednesday 22nd January 2020, 18:00.

For more information and to register, please visit https://www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/eventbrite-event/mcgovern-lecture-on-the-history-of-medicine/

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology (Hilary Term, Week 1)

Who? This term’s first lecture will be given by Dr Michael Finn, who will be speaking about ‘Self-help and psychology’.

What? ‘Self-help literature proliferates today, on bookshelves and online, providing guidance and knowledge for people looking to improve their lives, careers and mental health. The origins of the genre have been traced as far back as antiquity, but it was in the 19th century, in the works of authors such as George Combe and Samuel Smiles, that the publication of self-help works gained mass popular appeal. This growth in self-help literature, amongst other things, accompanied the development of scientific theories of mind, and the rise of psychology as a distinct discipline in the Western World.

In this talk, I wish to look at the historical relationship between psychology and self-help from the 19th century onwards, asking to what extent theories of mind have underpinned self-help advice, how these have changed over time, and what lessons historians can take from this story.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 20th January 2020, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Opening hours: 13th – 17th January

Next week, the History of Medicine Library will be staffed:

Monday 13th: 2.15pm-5pm
Tuesday 14th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday 15th: 
2.15pm-4.30pm
Thursday 16th:
2.15pm-5pm
Friday 17th: UNSTAFFED

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a splendid weekend!

Folio books in strong rooms, Wellcome Institute Library. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

Opening hours: 6th – 10th January

Happy New Year! For the first time this decade, the History of Medicine Library will be open to readers next week. It will be staffed at the following times:

Monday 6th: 2.15pm-5pm
Tuesday 7th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday 8th: UNSTAFFED

Thursday 9th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Friday 10th: 
2.15pm-5pm

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a splendid weekend!

16th century plastic surgery on the nose. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

Christmas closure

Please be aware that the History of Medicine Library will be closing for the Christmas break at 4.30pm on Thursday 19th December 2019. The Library will then be closed until 2.15pm on Monday 6th January 2020.

We hope you all have a splendid Christmas and look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

A street market at Christmas time: reindeer, pigs, fruit, turkeys and Christmas trees for sale. Wood engraving by C. Roberts. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

Opening hours w/b 16th December

Next week, the History of Medicine Library will be staffed:

Monday 16th: 2.15pm-5pm
Tuesday 17th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday 18th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Thursday 19th:
2.15pm-4.30pm
Friday 20th: UNSTAFFED

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a splendid weekend!

Four elaborately-dressed ladies consulting books in a private library. Etching. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

Opening hours w/b 9th December

Next week, the History of Medicine Library will be staffed:

Monday 9th: 2.15pm-5pm
Tuesday 10th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday 11th: 
2.15pm-4.30pm
Thursday 12th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Friday 13th: 
2.15pm-5pm

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a splendid weekend!

An allegory of learning: boys learn to read, write, and calculate in the foreground, in the middleground an elderly man uses dividers on a globe, in the background men take books from shelves. Engraving, 1756. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

(Nearly) new year, new books!

We may be about to leave 2019 behind us, but fear not, we are doing so with a plethora of new books in our collection! From August to December this year, the History of Medicine Library acquired 45 more books. Whilst most of these have now found their new home on the main shelves of the Library, our New Books Display continues to exhibit some intriguing titles…

Rhinoplasty and the nose in early modern British medicine and culture by Emily Cock

“Challenging histories of plastic surgery that posit a complete disappearance of Gaspare Tagliacozzi’s rhinoplasty operation after his death in 1599, Rhinoplasty and the nose in early modern British medicine and culture traces knowledge of the procedure within the early modern British medical community, through to its impact on the nineteenth-century revival of skin-flap facial surgeries. The book explores why such a procedure was controversial, and the cultural importance of the nose, offering critical readings of literary noses from Shakespeare to Laurence Sterne. Medical knowledge of the graft operation was accompanied by a spurious story that the nose would be constructed from flesh purchased from a social inferior, and would drop off when that person died. The volume therefore explores this narrative in detail for its role in the procedure’s stigmatisation, its engagement with the doctrine of medical sympathy, and its unique attempt to commoditise living human flesh.” (Published by Manchester University Press)

Shell Shock Doctors: Neuropsychiatry in the Trenches, 1914-18 by A D Sandy Macleod

“Shell shock was the signature injury of the First World War. Military doctors during the conflict on the Western Front observed and personally experienced psychiatric states they had never witnessed before. This text reviews the published medical literature of that era which graphically detailed the clinical states of hysteria (conversion disorder) and neurasthenia (anxiety and PTSD). Medical officers at the front evolved pragmatic medicinal, cognitive and behavioural interventions, still practised today, though never scientifically proven to be effective. The doctors, like their patients, endured numerous horrors at the front, which were, for many, to influence their post-war personal and professional lives. Much of what they wrote was forgotten and deserves reconsideration. Neuropsychiatry was founded in the shell craters of Flanders.” (Published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing)

Anxious Times: Medicine & modernity in nineteenth-century Britain by Amelia Bonea, Melissa Dickson, Sally Shuttleworth and Jennifer Wallis

“Much like the Information Age of the twenty-first century, the Industrial Age was a period of great social changes brought about by rapid industrialization and urbanization, speed of travel, and global communications. The literature, medicine, science, and popular journalism of the nineteenth century attempted to diagnose problems of the mind and body that such drastic transformations were thought to generate: a range of conditions or “diseases of modernity” resulting from specific changes in the social and physical environment. The alarmist rhetoric of newspapers and popular periodicals, advertising various “neurotic remedies,” in turn inspired a new class of physicians and quack medical practices devoted to the treatment and perpetuation of such conditions.

Anxious Times examines perceptions of the pressures of modern life and their impact on bodily and mental health in nineteenth-century Britain. The authors explore anxieties stemming from the potentially harmful impact of new technologies, changing work and leisure practices, and evolving cultural pressures and expectations within rapidly changing external environments. Their work reveals how an earlier age confronted the challenges of seemingly unprecedented change, and diagnosed transformations in both the culture of the era and the life of the mind.” (Published by University of Pittsburgh Press)

Other titles include:

For a full list of this year’s new books, please check out our LibraryThing page. If you would like to consult any of these titles and more, then feel free to visit us at 45 Banbury Road! We are open most weekday afternoons from 2.15pm until 5pm, but please do check our weekly blog posts for our accurate opening hours. If you haven’t visited the History of Medicine Library before, then please do email us at historyofmedicine@bodleian.ox.ac.uk in order to arrange your initial visit. See you soon!