SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MMV312077
Module Leader Janet Greenlees
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject History
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Programme Entry requirements: Normally an Upper Second Honours Degree in History of Cognate Disicipline.

Summary of Content

This module analyses the main themes in the social, cultural and political history of British and American medicine during the 'long nineteenth century' (c. 1780-1914). Particular emphasis is placed on the historiographical debates concerning the significance of various and changing forms of patient/practitioner interaction. Emphasis is also placed on understanding the shifts in both the institutional and organisational bases for medical practice and the relationship between medicine, the public and the state. Throughout, the comparative perspective is adopted to develop students' awareness of the similarities and differences of patient/practitioner experiences in two countries that shared many similarities, but which developed very different health care systems in the twentieth century.


Topics covered will include: 1. changing relationships between patients and practitioners 2. changing sites of medical practice and the rise of the hospital 3. changing forms of medical care: alternative medicine, vivisection, etc. 4. the professionalization of medicine 5. women's experiences as patients and practitioners 6. the rise of public health 7. medicine and social policy

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to demonstrate: 1. an understanding of how people experienced medicine as both patients and practitioners;2. a knowledge of how key events and issues during this period helped develop the modern system of healthcare.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This is a seminar based module which encourages discussion and debate. A student will introduce each topic and the group will then engage with primary sources and historiographical debates through materials supplied and recommended by the module leader. Students will also develop their oral presentation skills through presentations on particular, pre-selected topics and help initiate the ensung seminar discussions. These will be arranged during the first meeting. To extend their analytical skills, students will write a critical review of a secondary text (due end of week 5, 25%) on an agreed topic/book. Students will also complete a critical analysis of appropriate primary documents by the end of week 8 (25%). Lastly, students will complete a critical essay on a topic prearranged with their tutor and relating to a module theme by the end of week 12 (50%).

Indicative Reading

Roy Porter, 'The patient's view: Doing medical history from below', Theory and Society 14 (1985), 167-74 C. Lawrence, Medicine in the Making of Modern Britain, 1700-1920 (1994) I. Illich, 'The Medicalization of Life', Limits to Medicine (1976), 39-48 J H Warner, 'The nature-trusting heresy': American physicians and the concept of the healing power of nature in the 1850s and 1860s', Perspectives in American History' (1977-78) C Smith-Rosenbeg and C Rosenberg, 'The female animal: medical and biological views of women and her role in nineteenth century America', Journal of American History, 1973, 60, 332-56. A Digby, The Evolution of British Medical Practice, 1850-1948', 1999 J Leavitt and R Numbers, Sickness and Health in America, 2nd and 3rd editions (1985 and 1997) C Rosenbeg, 'The therapeutic revolution: medicine, meaning and social change in nineteenth century America', in Rosenberg and M Vogel, eds., The herapeutic Revolution. Essays in the Social History of American Medcine (1979) M Thomson, The problem of Mental Deficiency: Eugenics, Democracy and Social Policy in Britain, c. 1870-1959 (1998) N Tomes, 'The great restraint controversy', in Bynum, Porter and Shpeherd (eds), Anatomy of Madness, III. F Condrau and M Worboys, 'Second Opinions: Epidemics and Infections in Nineteenth-Century Britain', Soc Hist Med, 2007, 21 (1), 147-58. O Moscucci, The Science of Woman: Gynaecology and Gender in England (1990) - Diary of Martha Ballard, an American Midwife, 1785-1812

Transferrable Skills

Students will further develop skills in 1. the analysis of historical debates and contemporary documents 2. essay and report writing 3. oral history and debating

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Independent Learning (PT) 147.00
Independent Learning (FT) 147.00
Seminars (FT) 30.00
Assessment (PT) 18.00
Seminars (PT) 30.00
Tutorials (PT) 5.00
Tutorials (FT) 5.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 0.00 50.00 45% Essay on topic relevant to module and mutually agreed between student & module leader (2000 words)
Coursework 0.00 25.00 45% Primary document analysis
Coursework 0.00 25.00 45% Critical review of secondary text agreed between student & module leader (500 words)