School of History, Philosophy and Culture

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  • Podcasts

    • History of Medicine #15: International or global?: The pharmaceutical industry 1950–2010


      This seminar examines the development of the pharmaceutical industry in the second half of the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the USA and Europe, the main centres of the large corporations and their largest markets. It analyses their growth and how they met the challenge of the evolving biotechnology industry, in the context of spiralling research and development costs, government pressures on drug prices and greater regulation. The growth of very large international or ‘global’ corporations has taken place across many industries and been defined in different ways. The paper concludes with an assessment of the extent of ‘globalisation’ in the pharmaceutical industry. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 13 March 2012

    • History of Medicine #14: From Deficiency to Difficulty: Three historical phases of constructing learning disability since 1913


      This seminar on ‘From Deficiency to Difficulty’ captures an historical journey made by people with learning difficulties from the objects to potential subjects of the construction of their social identities. The seminar discusses three historical phases of these constructions, from a formalisation of a condition called ‘mental deficiency’ following the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act; to the period of the entrenchment of their segregation in the inter-war years; and finally to the slow growth of self-determination following World War Two. The seminar focuses on relationships with employment experienced by people with learning difficulties as a way of navigating through the extended historical period. Employment has been considered as irrelevant to the lives of people with learning difficulties by what Dan Goodley has called the ‘naturalised views’ or the ‘common sense’ of learning difficulty identities. The seminar shows that far from being irrelevant, their relationship to the labour market is central to understanding how their identities have been developed. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 7 Februay 2012

    • History of Medicine #13: Medical Experiments


      In this seminar Paul Weindling, Director of Brookes’ Centre for Health, Medicine and Society, discusses the ever-changing and evolving roles of historians of medicine as seen through the prism of his work on medical research and experimentation conducted by the Third Reich. In particular, Paul detailed the various ethical pitfalls surrounding the use of data gathered under such circumstances, as well as the emotive debates surrounding the naming and memorialising of the individual victims and their specific life histories. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 6 December 2011

    • History of Medicine #12: Karl Sudhoff


      In this seminar Claudia Stein, Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Warwick, offers her fascinating insights into the life and work of Karl Sudhoff and his lasting import on the establishment of the history of medicine as an academic field along with that of his successor Karl Sigerist. The seminar also detailed the seminal but often neglected 1911 International Hygiene Exhibit in Dresden organised by Karl Lingner, discussing its relevance as a microcosm of the various perceptions of, and approaches to, public health and medicine. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University

    • History of Medicine #11: The Doctor by Luke Fildes (1891)


      The Doctor by Luke Fildes, first exhibited over a century ago, is a popular masterpiece and an icon of medical art. The artist was inspired by the devoted care of a doctor who looked after his young son during a fatal illness some years before. The presentation will explore the historical context of the scene portrayed: an imposing male doctor observes the ‘crisis’ of a child’s illness as dawn breaks in a humble cottage. Consideration will be given to: The artist: a Victorian success story; How the picture was commissioned and painted; Whether the scene portrays myth or reality including consideration of: The child: her likely illness and prognosis, The family: social circumstances and access to medical care, The physician: his training, employment circumstances and clinical methods. Did he arrive by horse, carriage, bicycle or even motor car?, The treatment: the possible contents of the medicine bottle and their efficacy. The picture in the context of other portrayals of doctors and children. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 1 November 2011

    • History of Medicine #10: The Rise of the Global Health Consultant: Brian Abel Smith (1926-1996)


      For more than forty years, Brian Abel-Smith, a health economist and political adviser, was closely involved with the development of health and social welfare policies worldwide. From his seminal research with Claude Guillebaud on the cost of the British National Health Service in the 1950s, he quickly developed an international reputation as a consultant who could be relied upon to produce useful reports with speed and efficiency. His research centred on the determinants of health, health service planning and financing, population control and poverty. He pioneered international comparisons on health services finance for the World Health Organisation in 1958, and completed numerous assignments in over 80 countries - ranging from short reports to (in the case of Mauritius) the creation of a fully-fledged social welfare system. From 1983-86 he was senior adviser to the WHO Director-General Halfdan Mahler on the economic strategy for the Health For All (by the year 2000) programme. This talk will use Abel-Smith’s biography to explore wider issues of how international organizations like the WHO solicit advice from external consultants, how networks of knowledge develop, and the capacity of individuals to effect change within global systems. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 18 October 2011

    • History of Medicine #9: A Case Study in Mid Twentieth-Century “Charitable” Psychiatry


      From the beginning of the eighteenth century a pattern of different forms of institutional provision for mentally disordered people emerged in England, which included workhouses, private madhouses, the voluntary mental hospitals, and then from 1808 the publicly funded county and borough mental hospitals. The historiography of mental hospitals has concentrated almost exclusively on the public mental hospitals, and continues to focus mostly on the nineteenth century. Little primary research has been done on the Registered Hospitals, as the voluntary mental hospitals became in 1845, and relatively little attention has been paid to the period in the twentieth century between c1920 and c1960, in which significant changes took place to the whole pattern of provision. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 3 May 2011

    • History of Medicine #8: Child Welfare and Mental Hygiene in Greece (1910-1940)


      This seminar focuses on Greek child welfare institutions and initiatives in from the early 20thcentury unto 1940, exploring the combination of eugenics and ‘puericulture’ that emerged, as well the social hygienic measures adopted by Greek governments towards improving children’s health. This seminar hence also investigates the contributions pediatricians made to the wider eugenic discourse during the interwar years along with the intellectual currents that framed these debates and policies. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 5 April 2011

    • History of Medicine #7: Cleanliness is next to Godliness: The Problem of Plague in Early Modern Venice


      Early modern Venice was economically wealthy, politically powerful and socially cosmopolitan; one sixteenth-century contemporary described the city as a hotel for the people’s of the world. Like many ports with a high turnover of people and where trade provided the economic ‘lifeblood of the city’, protection against disease was of paramount importance. Introductions against the plague have often been characterised as knee-jerk, reactive, desperate, temporary and ineffective and, as such, have been studied separately from other medical and charitable introductions, famous in Renaissance Italy for their sophistication and scale. This paper illustrates that concerns about the plague were permanent in Venice, because of the magnitude of the problem of the disease, the uniqueness of the city’s environment and the wide-ranging concern for morality and reform in Renaissance states. As such, it adds to our understanding of early modern Italian medical, physical and religious history. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 29 March 2011

    • History of Medicine #6: Safety first! Individuals, Voluntary Organisations, and the British State in Twentieth-Century Accident Prevention


      Today safety education seems to be everywhere – just think of the annual Christmas anti-drink/driving campaign, using TV and radio adverts, posters, newspaper messages and more. Where did this idea of using the media to try to persuade people to change their behaviour start? Drawing on his Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded work, in this seminar Mike Esbester explores the origins and spread of safety education, from the pre-First World War workplace, to road safety and even into the home. He looks at the techniques that were used to spread messages (including handkerchiefs, milk bottle tops and Christmas paper), the relationships between health education and safety education, and the role of voluntary and government organisations in producing safety education. Mike considers what messages were put forward – including the idea that people must look after themselves – and questions whether or not safety education has reduced deaths and injuries. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 15 March 2011