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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2021/2022

Society and Health in Historical Perspective

Type: Elective course (History)
Area of studies: History
Delivered by: Department of History
When: 4 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of all HSE University campuses
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4

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 analytically academic literature for seminars, summarise it, highlight the main arguments, and critically evaluate them
  • Student will be able to read academic literature for seminars, discuss it during a seminar and participate in a group discussion in English.
  • Students will be able to discuss academic literature during a seminar and participate in a group discussion in English
  • 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
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction
    Health and disease from a historical perspective. The practitioners' perspective and critical social history of medicine.
  • Health and disease in antiquity
    Paleopathology and paleomedicine. Medicine in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Medicine and health in the Graeco-Roman world.
  • Health, illness and disease in the middle ages: Europe and the Islamic world.
    Health, illness and disease in the middle ages: Europe and the Islamic world.
  • European medicine in the 16th-17th centuries
    European medicine in the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. Population, health and the early modern state
  • Medicine and the Enlightenment.
    Medicine and the Enlightenment.
  • Health, medicine and modernity (1)
    The making of the medical professions; epidemic diseases, sanitation movement and public health in the 19th century
  • Health, medicine and modernity (2)
    Scientific medicine in the 19th century
  • Epidemics and the Making of Modern Public Health
    Epidemics and the Making of Modern Public Health
  • Medicine and Twentieth-Century Warfare
    Medicine and Twentieth-Century Warfare
  • Pharmaceuticalization of Everyday Life
    Pharmaceuticalization of Everyday Life
  • Global Health
    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

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.15 * A group presentation at the final colloquium + 0.15 * Analytical reading + 0.15 * Participation in seminars + 0.15 * Short oral or written summary + 0.4 * Take-home written examination


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., Сточик, А. М., 2017