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A Historical Introduction
HSHM 203/HIST 154
MW 11:35 AM -12:25 PM
Instructor: Dr. Jenna Healey
Office: HGS 324
Office Hours: Mondays, 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Please sign up for a timeslot by using the Canvas
scheduling function. If you cannot make it during one these timeslots, please email me and well
work out an alternative time to meet.
This class offers a survey of Western medical theory, practice, and institutions from antiquity to the
present. Over the course of the semester, well think critically about what it means for medicine to
be modern, and consider how medical knowledge is shaped by politics and culture. Topics include
changing theories of the body and disease, the evolution of medical epistemology, the development
of the medical profession, the establishment of medical institutions such as the hospital, and the role
of medical technology in visualizing and treating the body. While the course focuses primarily on the
history of medicine in Europe and America, we will also consider non-Western models of the body,
as well as historical encounters between Western and non-Western approaches to health and healing.
Evaluation will be based on your participation in discussion sections, a midterm exam, a final exam,
and a short paper.
Participation: 15%
Midterm: 25%
Short Paper: 25%
Final Exam: 35%
Participation (15%): Students are expected to attend all lectures and discussion sections. While
attendance will not be taken at lecture, students are responsible for making up any material they may
have missed. Slides from lectures will be posted online after each class, but they are in no way a
substitute for attending lecture and taking good notes. In discussion section, students are expected
to come prepared to discuss the weeks readings and fully participate in any activities the teaching
fellow has prepared.
Midterm Exam (25%): The midterm will take place in-class on March 1. It will cover material up
until the end of Week Six. The exam will consist of identifications, short answer questions, and one

Short Paper (25%): This short paper (6 to 8 pages) will be a close analysis of a primary source or a
small set of sources. Your primary source(s) cannot be drawn from the class readings, but must be
identified through your own research. The paper must have a clear argument that is supported by
analysis of your primary sources, as well as historical context that draws on (but is not limited to)
course materials and themes. The short paper will be due on Friday, April 21 at 5 PM.
Final Exam (35%): The final exam will take place on Friday May 5 at 2 PM. The exam will be
cumulative (that is, it will cover material from the entire semester), with an emphasis on material
from the second half of the course (Week Seven to Thirteen). The exam will consist of
identifications, short answer questions, and synthetic essays that will ask you to reflect on major
themes of the course.
Assigned reading is drawn primarily from primary sources, that is, original historical writings and
documents rather than later accounts written by historians. During section you will have the
opportunity to analyze these documents and place them in the context of that weeks lectures.
Readings will be drawn from two sources. First, a short coursepack will be available for purchase at
Docuprint, located at 27 Whitney Avenue. For the second half of the course, we will be using the
following text as our primary sourcebook:
John Harley Warner and Janet A. Tighe, eds., Major Problems in the History of
American Medicine and Public Health (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001).
Both new and used copies of Major Problems will be available for purchase at the Yale Bookstore.
Copies of the coursepack, as well as Major Problems, will be on reserve at the Bass Circulation Desk.
While this should go without saying, all phones must be silenced and put away for the duration of
lecture. Laptops and tablets may be used to take notes and refer to readings. Please respect your
instructor and fellow students by reserving technology use for class-related tasks. The use of laptops
in section is left up to the discretion of your discussion leader; please consult with your TF about
their own technology policy.
If you are in need of disability-related accommodations or services, it is your responsibility to
contact the Resource Office on Disabilities in order to formally request accommodations. The
Office will assist you in preparing a Letter of Accommodations, which will serve as an action plan
for you and your instructor. I encourage you to seek out the Office and talk to your Dean if you are
concerned about your ability to fulfill the expectations of the class. Please talk to me if you have
questions or concerns. For more information see:

Academic dishonesty and plagiarism come in many forms. These include: turning in someone elses
work as your own, failing to cite your sources, paraphrasing or lifting language directly from other
sources without proper attribution, handing in the same paper for two different courses without the
permission of both instructors, or cheating on a test, exam, or other assignment. For more
information see: Any form of academic dishonesty will be referred to the Yale College
Executive Committee for review.
[CP= Coursepack, W&T = Warner and Tighe]
Week One

Origins of Western Medicine

January 18


January 20

Hippocratic Medicine

CP: Hippocrates, The Nature of Man.
CP: Hippocrates, On Airs, Waters, and Places.
Week Two

Medicine in the Ancient World

January 23

Greek and Egyptian Medical Traditions in the Roman Empire

January 25

Indian and Chinese Medicine

CP: Galen, On the Medical Sects: For Beginners, in Greek Medicine, translated by Arthur J. Brock
(London and Toronto: J.M. Dent and Sons, 1929), pp. 130-151.
CP: Discourse on the True [Qi Endowed by] Heaven in High Antiquity, in Huang Di nei jing su wen:
An Annotated Translation of Huang Dis Inner Classic- Basic Questions, translated by Paul U. Unschuld and
Hermann Tessenow in Collorboration with Zheng Jinsheng (Berkeley: University of California Press,
CP: Caraka-samhita : Agnivesa's treatise refined and annotated by Caraka and redacted by Drdhabala : text with
English translation, Translated by Priyavrat Sharma, Volume 1, (Varanasi : Chaukhambha Orientalia,
1985), selections.

Week Three

Medieval Medicine
*Sections Begin This Week*

January 30

Arabic-Islamic Transit of Knowledge

February 1

The Black Death

CP: Avicenna, Canon of Medicine, selections.
CP: Guy de Chauliac, Bubonic Plague, translated and annotated by Michael McVaugh in Edward
Grant, ed. A Sourcebook in Medieval Science (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974), 773-4.
Week Four

Early Modern Medicine

*Sections held at the Medical Historical Library*

February 6

The Anatomical Renaissance

February 8

Challenging Ancient Authority

CP: Andreas Vesalius, The Fabric of the Human Body, selections.
CP: Baldasar Heseler, Andreas Vesalius First Public Anatomy at Bologna
CP: William Harvey, An Anatomical Study on the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
CP: Paracelsus, Volumen Medicinae Paranirum
CP: Rene Descartes, Discourse on the Method, selections.
Week Five

Enlightened Medicine

February 13

Empire and Reason in Eighteenth-Century Medicine

February 15

Smallpox: A Global Epidemic

Guest Lecture: Tess Lanzarotta, Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University

CP: J.Z. Holwell, An Account of the Manner of Inoculating Smallpox in the East Indies (1767).
CP: Lady Mary Wortley, The Turkish Method for Inoculation of Smallpox, The Turkish Embassy
Letters (1717).
CP: Phillippe Pinel, The Clinical Training of Doctors: An Essay of 1793, ed. And trans. Dora B Weiner
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980).
CP: R.T.H. Laennec, A Treatise on the Diseases of the Chest, translated by John Forbes (London T. And
G. Underwood, 1821), pp. xxix-xxxv.

Week Six

Medical Marketplace

February 20

Midwifery: The Battle over the Birthing Room

February 22

Orthodox and Alternative Healers

CP: Elizabeth Nihell, A Treatise on the Art of Midwifery (1760), Preface.
W&T: Elizabeth Drinker, a Philadelphia Quaker, Recounts in Her Diary the Physician-Attended
Birth of Her Daughters Sixth Child, 1799, pp. 58-59
W&T: Walter Channing, a Harvard Medical Practitioner, Warns of the Dangers of Women
Practicing Midwifery, 1820, pp. 67-70
W&T: Benjamin Rush Tells His Medical Students at the University of Pennsylvania the Trials and
Rewards of a Medical Career, 1803, pp. 60-62
W&T: A Medical Apprentice in Rural South Carolina Records Daily Life in His Diary, 1807, pp. 6364
W&T: Samuel Thomson, a Botanic Healer, Decries the Regular Medical Profession as a Murderous
Monopoly, pp. 71-72
W&T: Mary Gove Nichols, a Womens Health Reformer, Explains Why She Became a Water-Cure
Practitioner, pp. 129-131
Week Seven

Dirt and Disease

February 27

Sanitation and the City

March 1

Midterm Exam

CP: John Snow, On the Mode of the Communication of Cholera, selections.
W&T: John Griscom, A Physician and Reformer, Reports to the Municipal Government on the
Sanitary Condition of the Laboring Population of New York, 1845
W&T: Medical Editor Stephen Smith Preaches the Gospel of Sanitary Reform During Wartime
W&T: Sanitary Reformers Build Upon Civil War Precedents to Clean Up Post-War Cities, 1865
Week Eight

Scientific Medicine

March 6

Into the Laboratory!

March 8

Germ Theory of Disease

CP: Claude Bernard, An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1865), translated by Henry
Copley Greene (New York: Macmillan, 1949), 1-26, 196-226.

W&T: Henry P. Bowditch, A Recent Harvard Medical Graduate Studying in Europe, Finds in
Experimental Laboratory Physiology the Path to a New Scientific Medicine, 1869
W&T: Clarence Blake, A Young Boston Physician Studying in Europe, Finds in Clinical Specialism
the Path to a New Scientific Medicine, 1869.
W&T: Roberts Bartholow, a Philadelphia Medical Professor, Celebrates Experimental Medicine and
the Ongoing Therapeutic Revolution, 1879.
W&T: Charles V. Chapin, a Public Health Leader, Proclaims a New Relationship Among Dirt,
Disease, and the Health Officer, 1902.
W&T: Terence V. Powderly, Commissioner-General of Immigration, Warns of the Menance to the
Nations Health of New Immigrants, 1902.
W&T: John E. Hunter, An African American Physician, Admonishes Antituberculosis Activists to
Recognize That Blacks and Whites Must Battle Germs As Their Common Enemy, 1905
W&T: A Georgia Physician Addressing the Negro Health Problem Warns that Germs Know No
Color Line, 1914

Week Nine

Colonial Encounters

March 27

Invention of Tropical Medicine

March 29

Meeting of Medical Cultures

CP: James Johnson, The influence of tropical climates on European constitutions : to which is added tropical
hygiene, or the preservation of health in all hot climates (1818), Preface and Part I.
CP: Andrew Balfour, Some Aspects of Tropical Sanitation, in War Against Medical Disease (1921)
W&T: Le Page du Pratz, a French Observer in Louisiana, Reports on Natchez Nation Healing
Practices, 1720-1728, pp. 28-30.

Week Ten

Medical Institutions

April 2

Medical Education and Professionalization

April 5

Evolution of the Hospital

W&T: Daniel Cathell, M.D. Counsels Physicians on How to Succeed in Business, 1882
W&T: Educational Reformer Abraham Flexner Writes a Muckracking Report on Medical Schools,

W&T: Black Woman Physician Isabella Vandervall Laments the Racial and Gender Discrimination
in the Program for Reforming Medical Education, 1917
W&T: The American College of Surgeons Urges Standards for Hospital Efficiency and Physician
Accountability, 1918
W&T: Reform Committee Led by Johsephine Goldmark Probes Nursing Education, 1923
W&T: Rockefeller Foundation Reacts to a Growing Concern That Medical Education Reform Has
Worsened Doctor Shortages in Rural America, 1924
Week Eleven

Medical Technologies

April 10

Making the Cut: The Rise of Surgery

April 12

Visualizing the Body Through Technology

CP: Joseph Lister, On the Antiseptic Principle in the Practice of Surgery (1867)
W&T: Physician Charles L. Leonard Extolls the Diagnostic Virtues of the New X-Ray Technology,
W&T: Editor of Leading Medical Journal Urges Precautionary X-Ray Examinations, 1912
CP: A Sonar Look at an Unborn Baby, LIFE Magazine (January 15, 1965)
Week Twelve

Biomedical Cultures

April 17

From Infectious to Chronic Disease

April 19

Human Subjects Research

W&T: Texas Congressman Maury Maverick Pleads for a National Cancer Center, 1937
W&T: A.N. Richards, Head of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Updates the
Medical Community on Promising Wartime Science, 1943.
W&T: The Elite of World War II Medical Science Rally Support for a Greater Public Investment in
Biomedical Research, 1945
W&T: A Physician-Historian-Activist Explores the Legacy of Distrust Fostered by the Tuskegee
Study, 1993
CP: The Nuremberg Code, 1947
CP: The Helsinki Declaration, 1964

Week Thirteen

Medical Futures

April 24

Health Care for All?: Access, Equality, and Justice

April 26

The Dream of Personalized Medicine

W&T: A Group of Private Citizens Organizes To Investigate and Reform the American Health Care
System, 1932.
W&T: President Truman Confronts Congress About The Need for a National Health Program,
W&T: Journalist Bernard Devoto Offers a Public Tour of the AMAs Annual Meeting and a
Glimpse into the Mind of the Medical Profession, 1947.
W&T: Medical Editor Warns About the New Medical-Industrial Complex, 1980.
W&T: President Clinton Calls for a Health Security Act, 1993.
W&T: Journalist Laurie Abraham Captures the Human Drama of Medicare, 1993.
CP: Francis Collins, Has the Revolution Arrived?, Nature (April 1, 2010): 674-5