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Cursus: BMB507812
History of Medicine and the Biomedical Sciences
Cursus informatie
Studiepunten (ECTS)7,5
Categorie / NiveauM (Master)
CursustypeCursorisch onderwijs
Aangeboden doorFaculteit Geneeskunde; Graduate School of Life Sciences; Graduate School of Life Sciences, fac. GNK;
Contactpersoonprof. dr. F.G. Huisman
MASTER  (29-08-2016 t/m 26-08-2017)
Timeslot-: Niet van toepassing
Opmerkingthis course is an elective course for all GSLSMaster’s student of the & student Research Master History and Philosophy
Inschrijven via OSIRISNee
Inschrijven voor bijvakkersJa
After this course a student:
  1. is familiar with the many dimensions of the historical and historiographical transformation of the western medical tradition;
  2. has developed a capability to critically analyse primary and secondary sources;
  3. can interpret them and report on them in a consistent narrative.
Period (from – till): February 2017 -  April 2017
Prof. dr. F.G. Huisman, Julius Centre UMC Utrecht
This is a nine-week course that is part of the Research Master History and Philosophy of Science, offered by the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities. 
Modern biomedical science and modern medicine originated - both epistemologically and institutionally – in the period between 1850 and 1950. The epoch not only witnessed the birth of the modern hospital and the laboratory, but there was a growing awareness that the state had an important role to play in public health as well. Taken together, the hospital, the laboratory and the caring state can be considered as the symbols of modernity.

This course is an introduction to the birth of modern medicine, looking at developments over the course of the ‘long nineteenth century’. After an introduction of four weeks, you are expected to choose a topic that particularly interests you (set in any period between Hippocrates and yesterday), and write a paper on it. It is hoped that in the process, you will gain the source- and literature-critical attitude and the historiographical sensitivity that is needed to carry out independent research. You will find out that history is not about presenting dry facts about the past, but rather about reflecting the human condition. Medical history is reflecting on the ways in which man is dealing with health and illness, and with pain and death – both in the past and in the present.

You can read the full course description here.


Time and location

Time: on Thursdays (with the exception of Wednesday 12 April and Monday 24 April), 13.15-17.00 (= 1.15 p.m. to 5 p.m.) On Monday 24 April: 10.00-17.00
Location: Heijmans van den Bergh Building (HvdB), Uithof (to be reached by bus no. 12 or 28). Rooms differ (power point facilities are available).

Week 7 (Thursday 16/2/2017) – Introduction to the course and discussion of the introductions
to Codell Carter, The rise and Rosenberg, Framing disease (HvdB-room 2.01)
Week 8 (23/2) – Discussion of Bynum, Science, ch. 1-4, Wootton, Bad medicine and the
review by Shapin’s (HvdB-room 2.03)
Week 9 (2/3) – Discussion of Bynum, Science, ch. 5-8 and Loudon (HvdB-room 2.68)
Week 10 (9/3) – Discussion of four texts taken from Jackson ed., The Oxford handbook
and Booth, The craft (HvdB-room 2.01),  Submit preliminary research question and outline for review
Week 11 (16/3) – Discussion of Hamlin, Cholera and Rawlins, The writer’s way (HvdB-room
2.02) Submit final research question, outline and bibliography
Week 12 (23/3) – Discussion of research plans (HvdB-room 2.40)
Week 13 (30/3) – Discussion of research plans (HvdB-room 3.66)
Week 14 (6/4) – Discussion of research plans (HvdB-room 2.63)
Week 15 (Wednesday 12/4) – Optional (HvdB-room 2.04)
Week 17 (Monday 24/4) – Colloquium and oral presentation of paper (Tuinzaal)
                        Submit final written paper
Please post your power point presentation to the coordinator by 5 PM on 21 April 2017
During the first part of the course, students are expected to send (each week) three observations and three questions, based on the readings, by email to the others (no later than 5 pm, the day before the next session). During sessions, the pre-circulated questions and observations will be discussed.
During the second part of the course, everybody presents his or her work in progress. Every week, you are expected to email a one page outline to the others no later than 5 pm the day before the next session. During those sessions, students are taking turns in giving an oral presentation of half an hour (also including discussion).

Literature/study material used:
- K. Codell Carter, The rise of causal concepts of disease (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), vii-ix and 1-9
- Ch. Rosenberg and J. Golden eds., Framing disease. Studies in cultural history (Rutgers UP, 1992). xii-xxvi.
- D. Wootton, Bad medicine. Doctors doing harm since Hippocrates (Oxford University Press, 2006), 1-26.
- S. Shapin, ‘Possessed by idols’, London review of books, 30 november 2006. See (including Wootton’s response).
- W.F. Bynum, Science and the practice of medicine in the nineteenth century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
- M. Jackson ed., The Oxford handbook of the history of medicine (Oxford: Oxford university press, 2011):
* R. Cooter, ‘Medicine and modernity’ (pp. 100-116)
* H.J. Cook, ‘Medicine in western Europe’ (pp. 190-207)
* M. Gorsky, ‘The political economy of health care’ (pp. 429-449)
* R. Bivins, ‘Histories of heterodoxy’ (pp. 578-597)
- Chr. Hamlin, Cholera: the biography (Oxford UP, 2009).

You can apply for this course for the next academic year starting from June 1st and registration is on a "first come, first served" basis.
Applications before June 1st will not be taken into account. The maximum number of participants is 25.

Please register by sending an email before January 1st to, including the following information:
  •          Course name:
  •          Name:
  •          Student number:
  •          Master’s programme:           
  •          Email address:

Mandatory for students in own Master’s programme:
Optional for students in other GSLS Master’s programme:
This course is an elective course for all Master’s student of the Graduate School of Life Sciences. It is open to all students enrolled in the Research Master History and Philosophy of Science.

Prerequisite knowledge:
Bachelor’s degree and admission granted to a GSLS Master’s programme or Research Master History and Philosophy of Science.
Bachelors degree and admission granted to Masters program
Verplicht materiaal
Werkvormen (aanwezigheidsplicht)
Discussie college (Verplicht)

Hoor/werkcollege (Verplicht)

Individuele opdracht (Verplicht)

Onderzoek (Verplicht)

Paper (Verplicht)

Presentatie (Verplicht)

Zelfstudie (Verplicht)

Minimum cijfer5,5

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