New Books: Medical Students and Left-Handers!

Our new books received in the last month include studies on medical education in Ireland, diagnostic practices in Victorian asylums, medical technology and public health in former Soviet regions, malaria in 19th-century India, and the history of left-handedness.

See our full range of new titles on LibraryThing: https://www.librarything.com/catalog/WelLibOxford/yourlibrary

Laura Kelly, Irish medical education and student culture, c.1850-1950 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017)
‘The first comprehensive history of medical student culture and medical education in Ireland’ over this hundred-year period. Using sources including periodicals, literary works, administrative records, and first-hand written and spoken accounts, Laura Kelly looks at the academic and extra-curricular experiences of students, how these experiences shaped their identities as medical professionals, and how they were perceived within their wider communities. The book also highlights divisions of religion, class and gender within this medical sphere.

Olga Zvonareva, Evgeniya Popova & Klasien Horstman (eds.), Health, technologies, and politics in post-Soviet settings: navigating uncertainties (New York, NY: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2017)
The introduction to this edited volume begins with a trend recognised by studies of science and technology; politics and healthcare mutually shape each other, and instead of bringing certainty through the solutions they offer, new medical technologies often stimulate ‘the emergence of new questions and dilemmas’ (p. 3). This uncertainty is multiplied when these technologies are situated in post-Soviet regions, which have their own unique political and social uncertainties. The book’s approach is to encourage ‘critical learning’ by bringing together the disciplines of science and technology studies, and post-socialism studies. Chapters include case studies on egg donation, radiation science, and the development of new drugs.

Jennifer Wallis, Investigating the body in the Victorian asylum (New York, NY: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2017)
A study which links the histories of medicine, psychiatry, science and the body, this book uncovers the common practice of late nineteenth-century doctors to seek bodily evidence for the causes and symptoms of mental illnesses, using both clinical tests on patients and postmortem dissections. Jennifer Wallis uses the West Riding Asylum in Yorkshire as her main case study. Taking an ‘anatomical approach that aims to mirror contemporary processes of investigation’ (p. 14), the chapters cover various body parts in turn: skin, muscle, bone, brain and fluids.

Howard I. Kushner, On the other hand : left hand, right brain, mental illness, and history (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017)
An exploration of the ‘medical and cultural history of left-handedness’. Alongside his own experiences as a left-hander, Kushner considers the relationships, medically or socially constructed, between handedness, linguistics, taboo, disability and social tolerance. Chapters include: the reasons that have been posited for left-hand preference, the ways in which different cultures measure and judge handedness, and the psychological stereotyping of left-handers as criminals or creative geniuses.

Rohan Deb Roy, Malarial subjects : empire, medicine and nonhumans in British India, 1820-1909 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017)
In this study which links the history of medicine and science with empire and postcolonial studies, Rohan Deb Roy explores ‘the makings and persistence of malaria as an enduring diagnostic category’ (p.3) of disease and cure. In the long nineteenth century this category was not a straightforward medical diagnosis, but linked together various illnesses, plants, insects and other malarial objects which became, in the context of imperial rule, ‘objects of natural knowledge and social control’. Using British government and Bengali sources, chapters explore the growing of cinchona plants, the manufacture of quinine, and the making of the ‘Burdwan Fever’ epidemic.