Inventing Modern Medicine

by Prof. Hangen - February 21st, 2017

Our next three class sessions all bring us up through the 19th century to the early 20th century in medical / health practices, professionalization, and technological and scientific progress.

For Wed 2/22 Reading: Porter Blood and Guts, Ch 4-5 “The Laboratory” and “Therapies,” and Burnham Health Care in America, Ch 4 “Setting the Stage for Modern Medicine and Health, 1850s-1880s.” Bonus links: Koch’s Postulates; Lydia Pinkham’s Ladies Health Pamphlets; Typhoid Mary

For Mon 2/27 Reading: Porter Blood and Guts, Ch 6-7 “Surgery” and “The Hospital” and Burnham Health Care in America, Ch 5-6 “The Age of Surgery and Germ Theory, 1880s-1910s” and “Physiological Medicine, 1910s to 1930s”

For Wed 3/1 Reading: Burnham Health Care in America, Ch 7 “Physicians, Public Health and Progressivism.” Response #2 is due, posted to the Response Journal on Blackboard by classtime 12:30 pm. Prompt: discuss some of the key changes in medical technology, perception, or practice from the 18th to the early 20th centuries in a 400+ word response. Be specific; quote from our readings; think about which of these changes were most important in the development of “modern” health care. Pro tip: Compose and proofread your response offline, and then cut/paste into the Blackboard platform.

NOTE: This section of the class contains a lot of reading, obviously. A STRONG suggestion as you go: identify key terms and add them to the class Glossary on Blackboard.

Medical students observe a surgery at Yale Medical School around 1900

Birth of the Clinic (Feb 13-15)

by Prof. Hangen - February 9th, 2017

Update: Class is cancelled on Monday, Feb 13 due to snow. This week’s readings will BOTH be discussed in Wednesday’s class (Foucault, “Birth of the Clinic” and Burnham, Ch 3). Reminder: Diagnosis: History paper is due on Wednesday, Feb 15.

For Wednesday, Feb 15, please read Burnham Chapter 3 and an essay from The Birth of the Clinic by Michel Foucault. It’s posted on Blackboard. Fair warning: it’s challenging reading, so set aside time to really read it closely, probably several times over.

I’ve also put up on Blackboard my own “Cliff Notes” (Ok, “Hangen Notes”) to the Foucault reading, to help you read your way through it. Also, this movie clip from the 1993 Harrison Ford film The Fugitive applies – I mention it in my notes.

For our discussion in class, consider:

Whether the “discourses” Foucault talks about were necessary or simply incidental to the development of the health care systems he describes.

How the health care settings you are familiar with now are similar to / different than the ones Foucault writes about. Are they all “clinics” in Foucault’s terms? Why or why not?

Examples you are familiar with, about how “the medical gaze” informs modern health care practice.

Whether electronic medical records (which of course Foucalt had no experience with) are an entirely new system of medical explanation, or are they just a digital version of the modern explanatory systems we already have?

Likewise, does today’s technological interface that comes between doctors/nurses and patients (things like electronic monitors, thermometers, even gloves) help or hinder their trained ability to “discover” the disease? What are some ways that 21st century clinical technologies are an advantage and/or a disadvantage in diagnosing and treating patients? In other words, how has technology altered “the gaze” (and therefore, medical thought/discourse itself)?

Regarding Chapter 3 in Burnham’s book, “Changing Ideas and Practices:” How does Foucault’s essay help frame or illuminate Burnham’s description of what happened to make medicine more “modern”?

Lewis and Clark (Feb 6-8)

by Prof. Hangen - February 6th, 2017

UPDATE: NO Class Today, Wed 2/8 – Dr. Hangen is sick

This week we look at another late 18th/early 19th century context of frontier medicine, medical care in the Lewis and Clark expedition (1803-1806).

For Monday, Feb 6 – Reading is Volney Steele, “Lewis and Clark: Keelboat Physicians” posted as a PDF on Blackboard under “Readings.”

Film clip: Ken Burns, “Lewis and Clark” – click through to watch the whole thing, if you’re interested

On Wednesday, Feb 8 bring laptops, we’ll be exploring in the online diaries of the members of the Corps of Discovery. Class cancelled; Work with the diaries on your own, the link is here:

Social Healers (Mon 1/30 and Wed 2/1)

by Prof. Hangen - January 30th, 2017

Reading: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “1787: Exceeding Dangerously Ill” from A Midwife’s Tale (1991) – it’s posted as a PDF on Blackboard under “Readings”

Links for Today:
Guidelines and search term suggestions for the Diagosis: History project (due Wed Feb 15)

Bring laptops on Wednesday 2/1 to work with the Ballard diary

For Monday, Feb 6 – Reading is Volney Steele, “Lewis and Clark: Keelboat Physicians” posted as a PDF on Blackboard under “Readings.”

Colonial Context (Wed 1/25)

by Prof. Hangen - January 25th, 2017

Reading for Today: Burnham, Health Care in America, Ch 1-2

Links for Today, re: Smallpox Inoculation in Boston
Dramatization of a Smallpox Inoculation / HBO’s John Adams (2008)
Interview with Stephen Coss, author of The Fever of 1821
The Fight Over Inoculation During the 1721 Boston Smallpox Epidemic (Harvard Science in the News)
The Boston Smallpox Epidemic (Contagion: Harvard Open Collections) – with original sources

For Monday:
Read Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “1787: Exceeding Dangerously Ill” from A Midwife’s Tale (1991) – it’s posted as a PDF on Blackboard under “Readings”

Please bring laptops to class on Monday, as we’ll be exploring a digital version of the diary Ulrich used to write this essay.