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Regular version of the site

Society and Health in Historical Perspective

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
4 year, 1, 2 module


Course Syllabus


This course surveys the history of medical knowledge and practice from antiquity to the early 20th century. The course will explore a number of ongoing themes: race, bodily difference, and medicine; medicine and the environment; women, gender, and medicine; the history of the body; the history of sexuality; and the close connections between forms of social order and forms of medical knowledge.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Students will understand the fundamental questions and methods of the history of medicine; they will develop critical skills of assessing medicine’s complex role in contemporary society.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Student will be able to read academic literature for seminars, discuss it during a seminar and participate in a group discussion in English.
  • Student will be able to read analytically academic literature for seminars, summarise it, highlight the main arguments, and critically evaluate them
  • Students will be able to compare the views of different authors on the same subject, analyse and evaluate the ideas of other students suggested during seminar discussions
  • Students will be able to discuss academic literature during a seminar and participate in a group discussion in English
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction
  • Health and disease in antiquity
  • Health, illness and disease in the middle ages: Europe and the Islamic world.
  • European medicine in the 16th-17th centuries
  • Medicine and the Enlightenment.
  • Health, medicine and modernity (1)
  • Health, medicine and modernity (2)
  • Epidemics and the Making of Modern Public Health
  • Medicine and Twentieth-Century Warfare
  • Pharmaceuticalization of Everyday Life
  • Global Health
  • One health
  • Digital health
  • Historicizing COVID-19
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Participation in seminars
  • non-blocking Short oral or written summary
  • non-blocking Take-home written examination
    A student selects one question from a list and submits a written answer (1-2 pages length, or 1000-1500 words). The essays will be checked and assessed within a week.
  • non-blocking Analytical reading
    Students' comprehension of an assigned reading material is checked through Perusall - for further instruction see www.perusall.com
  • non-blocking A group presentation at the final colloquium
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 2nd module
    0.4 * Take-home written examination + 0.15 * Participation in seminars + 0.15 * Analytical reading + 0.15 * A group presentation at the final colloquium + 0.15 * Short oral or written summary


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bynum, W. F. (2008). The History of Medicine: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=363643
  • Jackson, M. (2018). A Global History of Medicine. Oxford, United Kingdom: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1668836
  • Porter, R. (2001). Bodies Politic : Disease, Death and Doctors in Britain, 1650-1900. London: Reaktion Books. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=440604

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Amelia Bonea, Melissa Dickson, Sally Shuttleworth, & Jennifer Wallis. (2019). Anxious Times : Medicine and Modernity in Nineteenth-Century Britain. University of Pittsburgh Press.
  • Faye Getz. (1998). Medicine in the English Middle Ages. Princeton University Press.
  • Laura M. Zucconi. (2019). Ancient Medicine : From Mesopotamia to Rome. Eerdmans.
  • Vivian Nutton. (2013). Ancient Medicine: Vol. Second edition. Routledge.
  • Wear, A. (2000). Knowledge and Practice in English Medicine, 1550–1680. Cambridge University Press.
  • История и философия медицины : научные революции XVII - XIX веков, Степин, В. С., 2017