HISTORY OF MEDICINE
This course is a social and cultural history of medicine. In this course we will examine the history of medical developments in both the East and the West, comparing the medical traditions in China and Europe as they evolved and changed. The discussion is divided into three parts: Part I: Theory and Practice of Medicine in the East and West, Part II: Shifting of the “Gaze” and the Rise of Scientific Medicine, and Part III: Modern Medicine and State Power.
In Part I we examine foundations of the Western medical tradition by beginning with the Greek scientific and intellectual framework and the dominance of Galenism in the religious and cultural landscape of Europe. We will then examine the Chinese institutional and intellectual traditions that shaped its medicine, and compare the similarities and differences between the Greek and Chinese medicines. In Part II we move to Europe and trace the emergence of scientific medicine and changing medical landscape where the hospital and laboratories become central to the transformed medical profession. However this process of adopting scientific medicine was often met with skepticism. We study the physician Ignaz Semmelweiss as a case study. In Part III we discuss the close association between scientific medicine and emerging state power. As China pursues modernization in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a modern system of health care became a symbol of modernity. Yet traditional Chinese medicine was not discarded, and we end with a study on the interaction between the modern and traditional systems of medicine in China.
The class will consist of lectures and as well as discussions. All students are responsible for readings listed for each week and sometimes leading discussions. Students can choose the topic for their term paper after consultation with the instructor.