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)

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • 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”

  • October 20, 2017

    Tamara Venit-Shelton (Claremont McKenna College): “Herbs and Roots Only: Toward an Environmental History of Chinese Medicine in the United States.”
    Comments by:
    Linda L. Barnes, Boston University
    Mei Zhan, University of California Irvine.

  • September 15, 2017

    Averyl Gaylor (La Trobe University in Melbourne): “Dance and Operational Bodily Encounters in Twentieth-Century Australia.” On the interplay between modern dance and modern medical cultures in shaping understandings and ideals of the body in Australia, in the early to mid twentieth-century. Comment by Dr. Whitney Laemmli, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia University.

  • April 21, 2017

    Joanna Radin, from the Program in History of Science & Medicine, Yale University, presented “Latent Life in Biomedicine’s Ice Age,” the first chapter of her new book, Life on Ice: A History of New Uses for Cold Blood (Chicago, 2017). Susan Lederer, University of Wisconsin, provided commentary.

  • March 17, 2017

    Beth Linker (University of Pennsylvania) discussed Huddled Masses: The Making of a Poor Posture Epidemic in America.   Comments by Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Professor Emerita, Cornell University and Carla Bittel, Associate Professor, Loyola Marymount University.

  • February 17, 2017

    Terence Keel (UC—Santa Barbara) and Osagie Obasogie (UC—Berkeley) in a virtual meet-and-greet on the origins and current projects of their working group on critical race theory and the health sciences.

  • January 27, 2017

    *Note Special Date*

    Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, presented a paper on cancer and aging in India and South Africa.

  • November 18, 2016

    Merlin Chowkwanyun, Donald H. Gamson Chair in the History and Ethics of Public Health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health presented a paper, "Is Small Always Beautiful? Is Community Always Great? Re-thinking the Big, Bad Academic Medical Center (1960-1980)" Kimberly Phillips-Fein, Gallatin School, New York University provided a comment.

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