Modern Medicine and Health, 1850 to the Present - HI835

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
7 30 (15) DR J Anderson







This course will explore how contemporary medical ideas, technologies and health practices have been shaped by the past. It also examines how developments in these areas from the recent past will shape the medical ideas and technologies and health practices of the future. Central themes include the changing nature of medical care in a range of contexts, implications for health, and the patient experience. Topics may include: medicine, health and demography; medical technology; medical museums; medicine and the body; places and spaces for medicine; military medicine; human experimentation and medical ethics; and healthcare in the future. The module makes use of a wide range of primary source material, including textbooks, media, newspapers, objects, ephemera and patient records.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

This module will be taught by 11 two-hour seminar sessions throughout the term. Each session will comprise a mixture of lectures, discussion of primary source material and debates on secondary reading.

During Week 2, students will have the option to visit the Wellcome Library and Archives.

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by 100% coursework, comprising:

- 1 independent research essay demanding close engagement with both primary and secondary sources (3,000 words, 40%)
- 1 blog on a topic in the course, which may be published on the blog of the Centre for the History of Medicine, Ethics and Medical Humanities (500 words, 10%).
- 1 seminar presentation, after which the student will be expected to lead the seminar discussion (the equivalent of 1,000 words, 20%).
- 1 Virtual Exhibition Design which will explore a theme of topic on the course, and combines images, analysis, and commentary. This may be published on the Centre for the History of Medicine, Ethics and Medical Humanities' blog (2,500-3,000 words equivalent, 30%).

Indicative reading

V. Berridge (1999). Health and Society in Britain since 1939. Cambridge: CUP
D. Brunton (2004). Medicine Transformed: Health Disease and Society in Europe 1800-1930. Manchester: MUP
W.F. Bynum et al (2006). The Western Medical Tradition 1800-2000. Cambridge: CUP
R. Cooter and J. Pickstone (2001). Companion to Medicine in the Twentieth Century. London: Routledge
A. Hardy (2001). Health and Medicine in Britain since 1860. London: Palgrave Macmillan
F. Huisman and J. H. Warner (2006). Locating Medical History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
J. Lane (2001). A Social History of Medicine. London: Routledge
J. Le Fanu (1999). The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine. London: Abacus
R. Porter (1997). The Greatest Benefit to Mankind. Waukegan, IL: Fontana Press
R. Porter (2003). Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine. London: Penguin
K. Waddington (2011). An Introduction to the Social History of Medicine. London: Palgrave Macmillan

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Develop an enhanced and sophisticated historiographical understanding of the history of medicine.
2. Critically analyse the historical approaches and historiography of medical history.
3. Understand medical history's relevance in cultural, social, political, environmental, and economic contexts.
4. Demonstrate an enhanced and sophisticated understanding of relevant theoretical and practical tools for exploring medical history.


The intended generic learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Critically analyse a diverse range of primary source materials.
2. Construct critically nuanced coursework in an independent manner.
3. Undertake independent research and learning.
4. Demonstrate the ability to consider complex issues from a range of perspectives.
5. Present in a clear and confident manner, demonstrating oral communication skills.
6. Present research in an accessible manner to a public audience.

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