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Durham University

Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease

Current Research Interests

Researchers: Prof. Andreas-Holger Maehle, Dr Lutz Sauerteig, Prof. Peter Atkins, Prof. Philip van der Eijk, Dr Jonathan Andrews, Dr Thomas Rütten

"Knowledge, Ethics and Representation of Medicine and Health - Historical perspectives"
Funded by the Wellcome Trust

In today's Western society, medical science and practice often seem to be taken for granted. Yet medicine's status as a science and as an ethically justified form of intervention in human life is the result of a large number of different historical processes - and even today its claims of scientific authority and moral respectability are not unquestioned. This project aims to show how, from classical antiquity until the present day, medical knowledge and practice have been established and communicated, and what factors have contributed to the variety of ways in which doctors, patients, health, disease and treatment are, and have been, perceived and understood. Special attention will be given to the ways in which mental illness and disability were understood, represented and treated, to medicine's changing engagement with human sexuality, and to the social, geographical, institutional and environmental aspects of health and healthcare. The project will use textual, visual and material sources and will lead to scholarly publications and presentations to the wider public - one of our aims being to stimulate communication between historians, members of the medical community, and the general public.

For further information about the project, please visit the Northern Centre for the History of Medicine