Working Groups

Medicine and Health

The History of Medicine and Health Working Group meets monthly to discuss a colleague’s work in progress or to discuss readings that are of particular interest to participants.

Meetings are usually held from 3:30 to 5:00 on first Fridays.

Scholars can participate online, or at the Consortium offices in Philadelphia, 431 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, or at the New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue (@ 103rd Street), New York, NY 10029.

To join this working group, click "Request group membership" at right. You will receive instructions for participating online or in person.

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    David Barnes

    David Barnes teaches history of medicine and public health at UPenn. His interests include history of medicine and public health, cultural history of bodily knowledge, and bodily practices.


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    Paul Theerman

    Paul Theerman is Director of the Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health at the New York Academy of Medicine.


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    Nancy Tomes

    Nancy Tomes is Distinguished Professor of History at Stony Brook University. Her research interests include U.S. social and cultural history and the history of medicine, women, and gender.


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    Keith Wailoo

    Keith Andrew Wailoo is Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University. His research and teaching interests include the history and cultural politics of disease; drugs and drug policy; race, science, and health; and health policy and medical affairs in the U.S.


Upcoming Meetings (all times Eastern)

  • Friday, February 7, 2020 -
    3:30pm to 5:00pm

    Ian Burney, Manchester University.  "Staging Innocence: The Origins of the Court of Last Resort and the Imaginative Landscapes of Frontier Justice."
    Comment by Christopher Hamlin, University of Notre Dame. 

  • Friday, March 6, 2020 -
    3:30pm to 5:00pm

    Paul Kelton, Stony Brook University.  "Buried: the Hidden Terror of Cholera in Jackson's America, 1832-1836." 

  • Friday, April 3, 2020 -
    3:30pm to 5:00pm

    Mary Fissell, Johns Hopkins University.

  • Friday, May 1, 2020 -
    3:30pm to 5:00pm


Past Meetings

  • December 6, 2019

    Emily Webster, University of Chicago, on "A Plague on the Land, on the Sea, and in the Sewers: Ecologies of Yersinia pestis in Bombay City, 1890-1914." Response by Lucas Mueller, University of Geneva.

  • November 1, 2019

    *Please note this meeting has been canceled. We hope to reschedule at a later date.*
    Elise Mitchell, New York University, speaking on "Smallpox Inoculation, Slavery, and Kinship in the Atlantic World." 

  • October 4, 2019

    Sarah Naramore, Sewanee: The University of the South, presents a chapter from her dissertation on Benjamin Rush, on the way that the distinctive American climate and geography called forth a uniquely American medicine.

  • April 12, 2019

    Wangui Muigai, Brandeis University, “'Something Wasn’t Clean': Black Midwifery, Birth, and Postwar Medical Education in All My Babies."
    Comment: Leslie Reagan, University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana

  • March 8, 2019

    Janet Golden, Professor of History, Rutgers University-Camden.
    "'Normal Enough': Paula Patton, Intellectually Disabled Immigrant Children, and the 1924 Immigration Act."
     Comment by Jaipreet Virdi, Assistant Professor of History, University of Delaware. 

  • November 16, 2018

    Julie Powell, Ohio State University, on "The Labor Army of Tomorrow: Masculinity and the Internationalization of Veterans’ Rehabilitation, 1914-1924." Comment by the work group.

  • October 19, 2018

    Catherine Cox and Hilary Marland, 'The Making of the Modern Prison System: Reformation, Separation and the Mind, 1840-1860'.
    Comment by James Moran, University of Prince Edward Island.

  • April 20, 2018

    Shobana Shankar, Stony Brook University, speaking on "The Mississippi Appendectomy: Prison Medicine as a Process of African-American Alienation."
    Comment by Susan Reverby, Professor Emerita, Wellesley College.

  • February 16, 2018

    Elaine LaFay presented  “‘The slandered torrid zone’: Medicine, Botany, and the Imperial Vision of an American Tropics along the U.S. Gulf Coast, 1820–1840,” a chapter from her dissertation.
    Melanie Kiechle, assistant professor of history at  Virginia Tech, has agreed to contribute a comment.
    A copy of the discussion paper is uploaded to the Medicine and Health Work Group site.
    LaFay is a PhD candidate in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and currently a Marguerite Bartlett Hamer Dissertation Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies.

  • November 17, 2017

    Daniel Goldberg (University of Colorado, Denver): “‘The Evidence of the Lost Eye was so Palpable’: The Testimonial Significance of Visible Disabilities in Civil War Veterans’ Encounters with the North Carolina Pension Act of 1885”