Category Archives: Talks & events

History of Science, Medicine, and Technology Postgraduate Conference 2018: 7th-8th June

The Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology presents:

The 2018 HSMT Postgraduate Conference
Sex, Drugs and Death: New Perspectives on Science, Medicine and Technology
Thursday 7th & Friday 8th June
History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford
hsmt conference 2018 event image

With panels on:

  • Early modern natural philosophy
  • Modern science
  • Psychology
  • Public health and colonialism
  • Reproduction and eugenics

See the full programme here.

The History of Science, Medicine, and Technology is an ever-expanding discipline. This two-day conference allows Oxford postgraduate students in the field to present their research, covering a broad chronological, geographic, and thematic scope. Panel topics range from early modern ideas to public health, with individual papers covering subjects as diverse as reproductive technology, honeybee diseases and twentieth-century scepticism about science – truly offering new perspectives, as questions fundamental to the history of science and medicine are explored and examined.

All welcome.  Admission and lunch are free, but registration is essential. To register please contact belinda.clark@wuhmo.ox.ac.uk by 30 May.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology: Week 2, 30th April

Dr Lauren Kassell (University of Cambridge) — The Casebooks Project.
‘The Casebooks Project centres on one of the largest surviving sets of medical records in history. Between 1596 and 1634 the notorious London astrologer, Simon Forman, and his protégé Richard Napier, a shy Buckinghamshire clergyman, recorded 80,000 consultations. A decade ago, we piloted Casebooks with an Excel spreadsheet. Now it is a pioneering digital humanities project with a dataset, a web-based search interface and image viewer framed within explanatory documentation and shaped by a programme of academic and public engagement. As the project nears completion, this talk reflects on its lessons for the histories of science and medicine and its implications for future work in the field.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 30th April, 16:00. Tea and coffee will be available in the Common Room from 15.30.

The HSMT Seminar series is convened by Dr Roderick Bailey, Dr Erica Charters, Professor Rob Iliffe and Dr Atsuko Naono, of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine.
All welcome to attend! For more information on this term’s seminars see the Unit’s webpage.

You can find Dr Kassell’s book, Medicine & Magic in Elizabethan London: Simon Forman; astrologer, alchemist, & physician, at the Wellcome Unit Library at shelfmark R489.F585 KAS 2005.
Also available as an ebook here – just log into SOLO for access.

Climate and the Plague: The Astor Lecture in Global Environmental History- Friday 25th May

The Oxford Centre for Global History presents the 2018 Astor Lecture in Global Environmental History:

Professor John L. Brooke (Ohio State University)
‘Climate and the Plague: Toward a Late Holocene Eurasian Synthesis’

Friday 25 May, 5:30pm (followed by drinks)
St Antony’s College – Nissan Lecture Theatre

  All welcome, but registration is essential. For further information and to register, contact global@history.ox.ac.uk 

The history of the bubonic plague – a central question in Eurasian environmental history for decades — has been fundamentally changed by new research in genetics and climate science. Traditionally thought to have been a new disease around the time of the Black Death, genetic analysis now has extended the origins of the plague back first to Plague of Justinian and now deep into the prehistory of arid Central Asia. We now can suggest when and where the bubonic plague emerged, and how shifting climates drove its emergence and epidemic diffusion, entangled with patterns of steppe migrations and trade.

John L. Brooke is an Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Center for Historical Research at the Ohio State University, where he also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Anthropology.  He has held fellowships awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Charles Warren Center, and Harvard University.  Building on work with the Tufts University Environmental Studies Program, the OSU History Constellation in Environment, Health, Technology,  And Science, and the National Science Foundation-funded ‘Project on European Health since the Paleolithic’, his most recent book is Climate Change and the Course of Global History: A Rough Journey (CUP 2014).  Examining the long material and natural history of the human condition, his research has pioneered the integration of the earth-system approach of the new climate science with human history.

“The Human Body and World War II”- Interdisciplinary Conference, Oxford English Faculty, 23-24 March 2018

“The Human Body and World War II”

Interdisciplinary Conference, Oxford English Faculty, 23-24 March 2018

‘Drawing together international researchers working in the humanities and medical sciences, this conference will explore the diverse effects of World War II on the perception and representation of the human body. Challenging disciplinary and geographic boundaries, we aim to stimulate dialogue between different fields of research and to intervene in current discussions concerning embodiment and disability studies, medical humanities, and writing the history of the wartime and postwar body.’

Keynote speakers: Professor Laura Salisbury (University of Exeter) and Dr Roderick Bailey (University of Oxford).

To view the full programme and to register your attendance, please visit https://humanbody2018.wordpress.com, or email humanbody2018@gmail.com

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology- Week 3, 29th January

This Monday’s seminar will be given by Professor Megan Vaughan (UCL), who will be speaking on ‘A research enclave in 1940s Nigeria : the Rockefeller Foundation Yellow Fever Research Institute at Yaba, Lagos, 1943-1949’.

‘This paper examines the history of yellow fever research in West Africa in the 1940s, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.  It describes an American-led, sometimes cutting edge programme of work in the field of virology, carried out in the conditions of wartime in a British colony. The scientific ambition and sophistication of this research enclave collided with the reality of a chronically under-funded colonial infrastructure and the neglect of public health.  The paper engages with a number of debates in the history of medical research in colonial Africa, including experimentation, the construction of the “field,” and the “laboratory”, and with questions of biosecurity.’

When? Monday 29th January, 16:00. Tea and coffee will be available in the Common Room from 15.30.

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

The HSMT Seminar series is convened by Professor Rob Iliffe, Dr Sloan Mahone, Dr Erica Charters, Dr Roderick Bailey and Dr Atsuko Naono, of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine.
All welcome to attend! For more information on this term’s seminars see the Unit’s webpage:  https://www.wuhmo.ox.ac.uk/termly-seminars

Some background reading from the Wellcome Unit Library:

Megan Vaughan, Curing their ills : colonial power and African illness (Cambridge: Polity, 1991) – R651 VAU 1991

François Delaporte, The history of yellow fever : an essay on the birth of tropical medicine (Cambridge, Mass., M.I.T. Press, 1991) – RC210 DEL 1991

Alfred Jay Bollet, Plagues & poxes : the impact of human history on epidemic disease (New York: Demos, 2002) – RA649 BOL 2004 (also available for Oxford University members as an ebook)

Hormoz Ebrahimnejad (ed.), The development of modern medicine in non-western countries: historical perspectives (London: Routledge, 2009) – R581 DEV 2009

 

 

 

 

 

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology- Week 7

Dr Jessica Meyer (University of Leeds): ‘Medicos, bandage wallahs and knights of the Red Cross: masculinity and military medicine in Britain in the era of the First World War.’

Abstract: ‘Histories of gender and medical caregiving in the First World War have tended to be dominated by studies of female nurses on the one hand, and gender implications of war impairments for the male body on the other.  Male medical caregivers are often overlooked as gendered actors in their own right. In this paper, I will examine the medical care provided by the men of the RAMC, whether doctors, stretcher bearers or nursing orderlies, through the prism of their identities as non-combatant servicemen in wartime. In doing so, I will argue that the masculine identities of these men encompassed competing narratives which nuance our understanding of both military and medical identities in the era of the First World War.’

Where: History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When: TODAY, Monday 20th November at 4pm. Tea and coffee will be available from 15:30 in the Common Room.

Seminars convened by Professor Rob Iliffe, Dr Sloan Mahone, Dr Erica Charters, Dr Roderick Bailey and Dr Atsuko Naono of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford.
More information about this term’s seminars can be found here.

 

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology- Week 6, 13th November

Speaker: Andrew Lea (University of Oxford)

Title: Computers, Material Culture, and the Definitions of Disease

Abstract: In 1947, the Cornell psychiatrist Keeve Brodman and a handful of colleagues began developing what would become one of the most widely used health questionnaires of its time—the Cornell Medical Index (CMI). A rigidly standardised form, the CMI presented 195 yes-no questions designed to capture the health status of ‘the total patient’. Over the following decades, Brodman’s project of standardising medical history taking gradually evolved into a project of mathematising and computerising diagnosis: out of the CMI grew the Medical Data Screen (MDS), an early computerised method of deriving diagnoses from patient data. At the same time Brodman was beginning to work towards the MDS, another research team, headed by the television pioneer Vladimir Zworykin, was developing a computer program that they hoped would make accurate diagnoses in the field of hematology. This talk examines these two early efforts to computerise diagnosis as entry points into a larger discussion of the role of computers in shaping our definitions—and ultimately our experience—of disease.

Where?: History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When?: Monday 13th November at 16.00. Tea and coffee will be available from 15.30 in the Common Room.

Seminars convened by Professor Rob Iliffe, Dr Sloan Mahone, Dr Erica Charter, Dr Roderick Bailey and Dr Atsuko Naono of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford.
More information about this term’s seminars can be found here.

2017 McGovern Lecture- 25th October

The McGovern Lecture is hosted annually at Green Templeton College, and focuses on the history of medicine. You can find a list of past McGovern Lectures here.

Professor Edgar Jones (Instutute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London) will deliver this year’s lecture, Shell Shock: understanding psychological casualties from the battlefield.

The scale of the First World War, and in particular the high numbers of killed and wounded, marked the conflict as one of the most significant events of the twentieth century. For the first time, psychiatric casualties were not only a medical priority but also presented as a military crisis. In a protracted war of attrition, shell shock had the capacity to erode morale and undermine the fighting strength of the major combatants. Some senior physicians, such as Gordon Holmes, interpreted shell shock in the absence of a head wound as little more than cowardice, whilst others, including Charles Myers and Frederick Mott, explored ideas of psychological vulnerability and sought to correlate its symptoms with traumatic exposure. Clinical presentations differed between armies. In the UK, shell shock was commonly represented as a movement disorder, characterised by tremor and unusual gaits. This stood in contrast to Germany and Italy where seizures and dissociated, soldier-like actions were more commonly reported. Possible explanations for these national differences will be discussed in the context of combat medical services.

When: Wednesday 25 October, 18:00-19.30

Where: E P Abraham Lecture Theatre, Green Templeton College, Woodstock Road, Oxford.

This lecture is free for all to attend, but booking is essential: book your seat here!

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology- Week 3, 23rd October

Next week’s Seminar in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology will be delivered by Dr Emese Lafferton, on the topic Sciences and cults of the mind: hypnosis, psychiatry and modernity in Austro-Hungary.

Dr Lafferton is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Central European University, Budapest. Her general research interests include the history of life sciences, psychiatry, eugenics, racial thinking, evolutionary theories, hereditary theories, physical anthropology and ethnography;  the history of science, empire, and nationalism; the history and sociology of medicine.

In this talk Dr Lafferton will first briefly present the outline of her book project which studies the 19th century fascination with the mind and weaves compelling case studies from urban and rural Hungary and Austria into a sustained analysis of the psychiatric and popular cultures of the psyche. This provides the wider context for her research on medical hypnosis between 1880 and 1920 in the Hungarian Kingdom. She is interested in how the boundaries of science were questioned, blurred, negotiated or maintained in the face of potentially subversive explorations into elusive psychic phenomena, and will try to show what new insights the Central-Eastern European material and perspective may offer to our understanding of the emergence of the modern European mind.

When?: Monday 23rd October at 16.00. Tea and coffee will be available from 15.30 in the Common Room.

Where?: History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

Seminars convened by Professor Rob Iliffe, Dr Sloan Mahone, Dr Erica Charter, Dr Roderick Bailey and Dr Atsuko Naono of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford.
More information about this term’s seminars can be found here.

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology: Week 2, 16th October

Speaker: Dr Julie Parle (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

Title: The okapi, the wolf, the fellow, and the baboons: thalidomide in South Africa, 1956-1976

Abstract: Responsible for ‘the world’s worst and most poignant medical disaster’, thalidomide was first formally marketed on 1 October 1957, in West Germany. Instructions for its withdrawal were issued 49 months later, by which time thalidomide-containing products had reached more than 50 countries across the world, including 18 in Africa. Following a pharmaceutical okapi, and via fragmentary histories – those of a man called Wolf, a WHO Travelling Fellow, and several hundred baboons – I focus on the surprising presence and uses of thalidomide in South Africa, 1950s to 1970s. I suggest that tales of this teratogen may be of significance for widening global histories of this drug and for those of medical science and the state in South Africa in the twentieth century.

Conveners: Professor Rob Iliffe, Dr Sloan Mahone, Dr Erica Charters, Dr Roderick Bailey, Dr Atsuko Naono

When: Monday 16th October at 16:00, coffee available from 15:30 in Common Room

Where: History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

More information: http://www.wuhmo.ox.ac.uk/termly-seminars