Monthly Archives: October 2015

Opening hours w/b 2 November 2015

Next week, our opening hours will be:

Monday, Wednesday: Unstaffed. 
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 2.15pm-5pm

Please take note of the days we are not open – we are sorry if this causes any inconvenience. Wednesday’s closure is due to the Research Fair for graduate history students, which will be taking place in the afternoon.

As always, please contact us if you’d like to come and visit the library. Enjoy the weekend.

Opening hours w/b 19 October 2015

This week, our opening hours will be:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 2.15-5pm;
Wednesday: 2pm-4pm

As ever, if you would like to come and visit the library then please do contact us. We hope your weekend is as fantastic as these top hats…

V0015848 A humorous image of two men wearing revolving top hats with Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images A humorous image of two men wearing revolving top hats with several attachments for optical aids and tobacco etc. Coloured etching. 1830 Published: 1 January 1830 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

‘A humorous image of two men wearing revolving top hats with several attachments for optical aids and tobacco etc.’
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images:


Call for papers: Medicine and Modernity in the Long Nineteenth Century

Medicine and Modernity in the Long Nineteenth Century

St Anne’s College, Oxford
10th – 11th September 2016


 In our current ‘Information Age’ we suffer as never before, it is claimed, from the stresses of an overload of information, and the speed of global networks. The Victorians diagnosed similar problems in the nineteenth century. The medic James Crichton Browne spoke in 1860 of the ‘velocity of thought and action’ now required, and of the stresses imposed on the brain forced to process in a month more information ‘than was required of our grandfathers in the course of a lifetime’. Through this two day interdisciplinary conference, hosted by the ERC funded Diseases of Modern Life project based at Oxford, we will explore the phenomena of stress and overload, and other disorders associated with the problems of modernity in the long nineteenth century, as expressed in the literature, science, and medicine of the period. We seek to return to the holistic, integrative vision of the Victorians as it was expressed in the science and literature of the period, exploring the connections drawn between physiological, psychological and social health, or disease, and offering new ways of contextualising the problems of modernity facing us in the twenty-first century. We are particularly interested in comparative perspectives on these issues from international viewpoints.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Representations of ‘modern’ disorders and neuroses in literature and the medical press
  • Defining modernity and its problems in the nineteenth century
  • Medical and psychiatric constructions of modern life
  • Social and mental health and welfare
  • Diseases from pollution and changing nineteenth-century environments
  • Diseases from worry, overwork, and mental or physical strain
  • Diseases from excess, self-abuse, stimulants, and narcotics
  • The role of machinery and technology in causing or curing disease
  • Changing relationships between doctors and patients
  • Emerging medical specialisms
  • Global modernities

We welcome proposals from researchers across a range of disciplines and stages of career.  We plan to publish a selection of papers from the event in the form of an edited volume. Please send proposals of no more than 300 words accompanied by a short bio, to by Friday, 4th December 2015.

Amelia Bonea, Melissa Dickson, Jennifer Wallis, Sally Shuttleworth.

McGovern Lecture: The Role of Emotion in Disease

The role of emotion in disease: historial perspectives

Mark Jackson

Professor Mark Jackson
Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter
Senior Academic Advisor, Wellcome Trust

Thursday 29 October 6-7:15pm
E.P. Abraham Lecture Theatre
Green Templeton College, Woodstock Road

Emotions (or the ‘passions’) have for many centuries been implicated in the aetiology of both mental and physical diseases. Although the place of emotions in disease was largely displaced during the nineteeth century by more specific bacteriological and pathological accounts of illness, interest in the emotions and human health persisted.

This lecture will reflect on modern understandings of the role of emotions by focusing on three interrelated areas of medicine: early twentieth-century laboratory and clinical studies of shock and disease; mid-twentieth century accounts of the impact of emotional stress on health; and late twentieth-century formulations of midlife as a period of potential emotional, psychological and spiritual crisis.

Having trained first in science and medicine, Mark Jackson completed a doctorate in the history of legal medicine and has taught the history of medicine and the history and philosophy of science for nearly twenty years. His books include Allergy: The History of a Modern Malady (2006), Asthma: The Biography (2009), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine (ed., 2011), The Age of Stress: Science and the Search for Stability (2013), and The History of Medicine: A Beginner’s Guide (2014 – shortlisted for the Dingle Prize). He is currently editing The Routledge History of Disease and writing a book on the midlife crisis.

01865 284550


Opening hours w/b 5 October

We will be closed for much of next week, as we will be very busy with inductions for new students – we apologise for the inconvenience. On Tuesday, there may also be some small amount of disruption at 3.15pm for inductions for new History of Medicine students here at the Unit, who we are very much looking forward to meeting.

Our opening hours will be:

Monday, Tuesday: 2.15-5pm
Wednesday to Friday: Unstaffed

Please contact us if you would like to make an appointment to visit the library. Have a wonderful weekend.

Michaelmas Term 2015 Seminar Series

Michaelmas Term 2015
Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine,
Seminar Room, 47 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PE

The following seminars will be held on Mondays at 2.15pm
Coffee will be available from 2.00pm

‘Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology’
Conveners: Dr Erica Charters, Professor Pietro Corsi, Dr Sloan Mahone

Week 1 – 12 October
Hans Pols, University of Sydney
‘Decolonising medicine: The Indonesian medical profession, 1900-1950.’

Week 2 – 19 October
Mary Cox, University of Oxford
‘Using modern WHO and FAO health standards to understand the health of women and children from the past: Leipzig, 1917-1921’

Week 3 – 26 October
Rob Iliffe, University of Sussex
‘The place of the imagination in accounts of scientific creativity, 1620-1820’

Week 4 – 2 November
Robert Fox, University of Oxford
‘Mentality or circumstance? The dilemmas of science-based industry in France, 1870-1920’

Week 5 – 9 November
Claas Kirchhelle, University of Oxford
‘Pyrrhic progress: Antibiotics and Western food production, 1949-2015’

Week 6 – 16 November
Elise Smith, University of Warwick
‘“Healthy, respectable boys”: Physical fitness in the Royal Navy, 1850-1905’

Week 7 – 23 November
Sophie Waring, University of Oxford
‘Negotiating expertise at sea: The Board of Longitude in the age of re-form’

Week 8 – 30 November
Alison Bashford, Cambridge University
‘Malthus and smallpox’