BSHM Congress Keynote Lecture: How distinctive was Scottish medical practice? 

How distinctive was Scottish medical practice? 
by Professor Malcolm Nicolson.  
Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Glasgow. 

Prof Nicolson was indisposed when he was  due to give his keynote lecture 
in Edinburgh on Sept 16th 2017. 

However, he kindly agreed to record the lecture and we now have pleasure in 
making the video recording available for all. 


CFP. Being Well Together: human-animal collaboration, companionship and the promotion of health and wellbeing

Call for Papers – Workshop. 19th-21st September 2018.
Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM)
University of Manchester (UK).

Being Well Together will critically examine the myriad ways humans have formed partnerships with nonhuman species to improve health across time and place. The late twentieth century witnessed the simultaneous rise and diversification of varied entanglements of humans and animals in the pursuit of health and wellbeing. Clinical examples include the use of maggots to treat chronic wounds and the post-surgical use of leeches to aid healing. In wider society we might consider service animals, such as guide dogs, diabetes alert dogs, and emotional support animals. In the home pets are increasingly recognized to contribute to emotional wellbeing, with companion animals particularly important to those who are otherwise at risk of social isolation. Expanded to include concepts such as the ‘human’ microbiome in the opening decades of the twenty-first century, these entanglements may be recognized as ‘multispecies medicine’. In each case, human health and wellbeing rests on the cultivation of relationships with other species. Being well is a process of being well together.

We invite proposals to explore multispecies communication, collaboration and companionship in contexts of medicine, health and wellbeing. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the lived experience of health as a product of multispecies relations, the role of affect and emotion in the maintenance of human and nonhuman wellbeing, and the societal politics of ‘being well’ when ‘being well’ is a more than human condition. The lived experience of being well with animals can reshape understandings of health, wellbeing and disability; its study may provide new approaches to productively frame the relationship between the politics of animal and disability advocacy.

Participants will be drawn from a range of disciplines with interests spanning, though not restricted to, medical and environmental humanities. We aim to strike a balance between studies adopting historical perspectives and those which critically examine areas of contemporary practice. In bringing historical accounts into dialogue with present practices, Being Well Together will generate new perspectives on medicine, health and changing relations of human and animal life in society.

Practical Details
Titles and abstracts (400 words maximum) as well as general queries should be addressed to Rob Kirk ( and Neil Pemberton ( by Thursday 30th November 2017.

Invited participants will provide a written draft paper for pre-circulation (6-8000 words maximum inclusive of references) by 31st July 2018. These ‘work-in-progress’ papers will be the starting point for discussions at the September workshop with a view to producing an edited volume.

Accommodation and travel costs for invited participants will be covered by the organisers.

Being Well Together is the first in a series of activities supported by the Wellcome Trust (UK) Investigator Award, ‘Multispecies Medicine: Biotherapy and the Ecological Vision of Health and Wellbeing’. Based at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester, this collaborative research project examines how, why and to what consequence, human and nonhuman life has become variously entangled within health, wellbeing and society.


Knowledge in Context: Colloquium in Honour of Laurence Brockliss and Colin Jones

In 1997, Laurence Brockliss (Magdalen College, Oxford) and Colin Jones (QMUL) published The Medical World of Early Modern France, a landmark in the history of medicine because of its integration of social and institutional history with intellectual history.  It established a vibrant new approach to the history of medicine and knowledge of the early modern period while also encouraging Anglo-French intellectual exchange.

This colloquium has been organized by colleagues and former colleagues to mark the twentieth anniversary of this work’s publication and the year of Laurence Brockliss’s retirement.  Examining the ways in which knowledge is contextualized in early modern Europe and Britain, speakers from a range of historical disciplines (classical scholarship, antiquarianism, philosophy, natural sciences) and from a variety of national perspectives will demonstrate the range of Brockliss and Jones’s impact in integrating intellectual history with other sub disciplines of history.

Speakers include: Gregory Brown (UNLV), Simon Burrows (Western Sydney University), Jean-Luc Chappey (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne), Karl Theodore Hoppen (Hull), Cathy McClive (Florida State University), Christelle Rabier (EHESS), and John Robertson (Cambridge)

Registration now open: Standard £40.00; Reduced £20.00

Knowledge in Context Colloquium – Book here

Organizers: Floris Verhaart, Queen’s University Belfast; François Zanetti, Paris Ouest Nanterre; Erica Charters, University of Oxford

We are grateful for funding from The Society for the Social History of Medicine; the History Faculty, University of Oxford; Florida State University; Queen’s University Belfast; and Magdalen College, Oxford.

Travel bursaries may be available for student and early-career attendees: see

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 09.46.16

CFP (special issue). Palgrave Communications:- Socioeconomic factors and mental health: past and present

Palgrave Communications, the humanities and social sciences journal published by Palgrave Macmillan, is currently inviting article proposals and full papers for the following special issue:

Socioeconomic factors and mental health: past and present

Editors: Professor Matthew Smith and Dr Lucas Richert (University of Strathclyde, UK)


This article collection will examine how the relationship between socioeconomic factors and mental health has been and is understood in an array of different places and periods. Although much of the focus of current mental health research and clinical practice is on the neurological aspects of mental illness and psychopharmacological treatment, historical research demonstrates that a wide range of factors — from vitamin deficiencies such as pellagra, and infections such as syphilis to traumatic life events — have contributed to the onset and exacerbation of mental health problems. Among all these factors, one looms largest: socioeconomic status. On the one hand, socioeconomic inequality has been long recognised as a potential cause of mental illness, as the history of mental hygiene and social psychiatry during much of the twentieth century demonstrates. On the other hand, however, the mentally ill have also historically faced much socioeconomic hardship; today, a high proportion of the homeless and incarcerated in many countries suffer from mental illness.


By exploring this topic across time and place, this collection aims to provide a historical context for today’s mental health crisis, and also to inform current mental health policy, especially attempts to prevent or alleviate mental illness through social change.


This is a rolling article collection and as such proposals and submissions will be welcome throughout 2017. However, full submissions received by November 1 will be considered for publication as part of the collection’s formal launch in 2018.


Proposals should be submitted to the editorial office at:


More info:


Read more about the journal’s open access policy here:


CFP: Joint Atlantic Seminar for the History of Medicine

October 13-14, 2017

Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University Institute for the History of Medicine is pleased to host the 15th Joint Atlantic Seminar for the History of Medicine, October 13-14, 2017 in Baltimore.

JASMed is convened annually for the presentation of research by young scholars working on the history of medicine and public health. The meeting was founded in 2002 to foster a collegial intellectual community that provides a forum for sharing and critiquing graduate research.

We welcome student presentations on any topic and time period and especially hope to receive submissions that speak to this year’s theme, “Truth, Power, and Objectivity in the History of Medicine.” As Bruno Latour cautioned in his 2004 essay “Why has critique run out of steam? From matters of fact to matters of concern,” by demonstrating the lack of scientific certainty and socially constructed nature of facts in their work, historians of science, medicine, and technology are at risk of potentiating the arguments of political extremists, such as climate change skeptics or HIV denialists. This theme directs our attention to the ways in which historians of medicine both establish truths and call them into question. Broadly conceived, the theme highlights questions of perspective and power, including the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and disability. It also invites us to critically consider methodological issues in the field, such as which actors get voices in our narratives, how sources can be used to emphasize or obscure different viewpoints, how evidence and authority are mobilized and balanced, and how claims of objectivity in the medical and scientific discourses influence both our scholarship and the ways it is interpreted.

We encourage submissions from a wide range of scholarly disciplines and are eager to hear new voices in the history of medicine and allied fields. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and clearly convey the argument, sources, and relationship to existing literature of the paper to be presented. Please submit an abstract no later than June 15, 2017 to

Registration for the conference is free and will open in September 2017. If you have any questions, please be in touch via email at

CFP: What is a Recipe? A Virtual Conversation


The Recipes Project is a Digital Humanities and History of Science, Technology, and Medicine blog devoted to the study of recipes from all time periods and places. Our readership and contributors highlight the growing scholarly and popular interest in recipes. Over the five years that the RP has been running, our authors have continued to revisit one key question: what exactly is a recipe?  How do we know one when we see one?  What is their structure? What functions do recipes serve? How are they shared and passed on? Are they a set of instructions, a way of life, or a story? Aspirational or frequently used? Prose, poem, or image? The list could go on!


And the question becomes even more complicated when we consider  the ways that social media creates new and innovative formats for conversations about recipes, across disciplines, academic/non-academic boundaries, and the world. At the RP, we’ve found that blogging is a wonderful way for recipes scholars to share their work and interests, but we recognize its limits as static text.


Introducing… the Virtual Conversation

We would like to invite you – whatever your background – to join us in our first Recipes Project Virtual Conversation, which will take place across a series of online events over the course of one month (2 June to 5 July).


The month-long event will be framed by two more traditional panels of speakers. The first, “Repast and Present: Food History Inside and Outside the Academy,” will be convened at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians in June. The second will be held in the UK in July, and will feature all of the RP’s editors.  We’ll record these two panels and post them online for discussion.


In between these panels, we’ll host a series of virtual events during which we flood social media with images, texts, and conversations about ‘What is a Recipe?’


Are you a visual person who loves Pinterest or Instagram? Or do you prefer the brevity and playfulness of Twitter? Do you use recipes in historical re-enactment, or try to reconstruct historical recipes in the lab? Are you a knitter who uses old patterns? Whether you’re a recipes scholar, or a recipes enthusiast, there is a place for you in our conference.


During the Virtual Conversation, we will be collecting and archiving presentations for a post-event exhibition site.


Types of Presentations

We are open to any form of online presentation on the topic of ‘What is a Recipe?’ You might use Twitter for poems, stories, or essays… Or Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat for photo-essays… Or YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook Live for videos… Or a blog forum… Or you might have another brilliant idea, which we’d love to hear!


Participation is open to ALL, whether you decide to present or to simply join the discussion.


How to Participate

Please register your interest in participating by contacting Recipes Project editors Lisa Smith and Laurence Totelin by 30 April 2017.


In your email, please indicate your activity, medium, and (if any) preferred dates between 2 June and 5 July. In the interests of open participation, we are not vetting abstracts.


But in your application, please be detailed, because this will help us as we organise online activities, find participants, and ensure that we have permission to reproduce work on our exhibition site. Some virtual technical support may also be possible, depending on your needs.


We have reserved two hashtags for the conference: #recipesconf and #recipesproject. Please use these for all presentations and discussions, so participants can be sure to find each other.


We can’t wait to see what you come up with!


For more information, please see the CFP at our own website, follow us on Twitter, or see us on Facebook.

Conference. ‘Why is my pain perpetual?’ (Jer 15:18): Chronic Pain in the Middle Ages

Pain is a universal human experience. We have all hurt at some point, felt that inescapable sensory challenge to our physical equanimity, our health and well-being compromised. Typically, our agonies are fleeting. For some, however, suffering becomes an artefact of everyday living: our pain becomes ‘chronic’. Chronic pain is persistent, usually lasting for three months or more, does not respond well to analgesia, and does not improve after the usual healing period of any injury.


Following Elaine Scarry’s (1985) seminal work The Body in Pain, researchers from various humanities disciplines have productively studied pain as a physical phenomenon with wide-ranging emotional and socio-cultural effects. Medievalists have also analysed acute pain, elucidating a specifically medieval construction of physical distress. In almost all such scholarship – modern and medieval – chronic pain has been overlooked.


The new field of medieval disability studies has also neglected chronic pain as a primary object of study. Instead, disability scholars in the main focus on ‘visible’ and ‘mainstream’ disabilities, such as blindness, paralysis, and birth defects. Indeed, disability historian Beth Linker argued in 2013 that ‘[m]ore historical attention should be paid to the unhealthy disabled’, including those in chronic pain (‘On the Borderland’, 526). This conference seeks specifically to pay ‘historical attention’ to chronic pain in the medieval era. It will bring together researchers from across disciplines working on chronic pain, functioning as a collaborative space for medievalists to enter into much-needed conversations on this highly overlooked area of scholarship.


Relevant topics for this conference include:

  • Medieval conceptions and theories of chronic pain, as witnessed by scientific, medical, and theological works
  • Paradigms of chronic pain developed in modern scholarship – and what medievalists can learn from, and contribute to, them
  • Comparative analyses of chronic pain in religious versus secular narratives
  • Recognition or rejection of chronic pain as an affirmative subjective identity
  • Chronic pain and/as disability
  • The potential share-ability of pain in medieval narratives, such as texts which show an individual taking on the pain of another
  • The relationship between affect and the severity, understanding, and experience of pain
  • The manner in which gender impacts the experience, expression, and management of an individual’s chronic pain


Confirmed speakers:

  • Dr Katherine Harvey (Birkbeck, University of London, UK), ‘Chronic Pain and the Saintly Bishop in Medieval England’
  • Dr James McKinstry (Durham University, UK), ‘Headaches, Diseases, and Old Age: William Dunbar’s Diagnosis of Chronic Pain’
  • Dr Michele Moatt (National Trust and Lancaster University, UK), ‘Chronic Pain and Prophecy in the Twelfth-century Life of Aelred of Rievaulx
  • Catherine Coffey (Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland), ‘“Mit zwoelf tugenden stritet si wider das vleisch”: The Body Fighting the Flesh in Mechthild von Magdeburg’s Das fließende Licht der Gottheit
  • Katherine Briant (Fordham University, New York, USA), ‘Pain as a Theological Framework in Julian of Norwich’s Vision and Revelation
  • Dr Nicole Nyffenegger (Bern University, Switzerland), ‘Mary’s Perpetual Physical Pain: Affective Piety and “Doubling”’
  • Prof Wendy J Turner (Augusta University, Georgia, USA), ‘Mental Complications of Pain: Age and Violence in Medieval England’
  • Dr Bianca Frohne (University of Bremen, Germany), ‘Living With Pain: Constructions of a Corporeal Experience in Early and High Medieval Miracle Accounts’
  • Dr William Maclehose (University College London, UK), ‘A Locus for Healing: Saints’ Shrines and Representations of Chronic Pain’
  • Prof Esther Cohen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), one of the foremost scholars on pain in the Middle Ages, will deliver the keynote address.


If you have any queries, including access requirements, please do not hesitate to contact the organiser, Alicia Spencer-Hall.


Picture1Picture2This conference is generously supported by the Society for the Social History of Medicine and the Institute of Advanced Studies at University College London.


NB. The conference registration fee is £20. The fee is waived completely for concessions (students, the unwaged, retired scholars). Registration for the conference will open shortly, and be conducted via the UCL Online Shop, in the ‘Conferences and Events’


Members of the Society for the Social History of Medicine may apply for bursaries to facilitate attendance at this conference. Please see here for full details.

EXPLORING HOSPITAL RECORDS AND ARCHIVES: A Symposium Event for Researchers and Archivists

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB

Friday 28 April 2017


FREE – Booking Essential (Lunch is provided)

The event is relevant for people starting their research (undergraduate or postgraduate) or those wanting to explore new routes into academic or historical explorations 

Researching hospital records offers opportunities and presents challenges. Records from the Royal Free Hospital will provide a main focus for the event, alongside other related material from the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) collections.

There will also be the opportunity to share research ideas, exchange information and network with others researching a range of topics relating to hospital records.



12.30 – 2pm. Registration and Welcome

  • Networking Lunch
  • Behind the Scenes Tour – an introduction to the archive and its work
  • Document / Collection Viewing – a chance to see and discuss original materials

2pm. Presentations and Open Forum: Accessing and Using Archive Collections

LMA staff will:

  • Introduce the range and type of collections held on site
  • Discuss ways of working with sensitive and challenging material
  • Open up ideas about how Royal Free Hospital record collections have been used to engage and inform the public

3.30pm. Tea

3.45pm. Workshop and Knowledge Share

This practical session will provide participants with an opportunity to discuss, plan and share current research or project work, discuss new proposals and consider the potential of partnership working.

4.20pm Final Round Up

Funded by The Wellcome Trust


CFP. Fears and Angers: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

19-20 June 2017
Arts Two Building, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University of London

Organised by the QMUL Centre for the History of the Emotions and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions

According to the wheel of emotions created by the psychologist Robert Plutchik in 1980, angry and fearful emotions are diametrically opposed to each other, as approach and avoidance responses respectively to harmful stimuli.
Plutchik’s is one of many different models suggesting the existence of certain “basic” or “primary” emotions. Such lists almost always include both fear and anger. Historically, fearful and angry emotions have been related to each other in different ways – sometimes opposed, sometimes complementary, and sometimes in another way. For Thomas Aquinas, for instance, ira is alone among the passions in having no contrary.
Although basic emotion theorists tend to treat “fear” and “anger” as singular emotions, even Plutchik’s wheel includes three different intensities for each emotion – from annoyance to rage and from apprehension to terror. Historians tend to be more attuned to cultural specificities of emotional language, concepts and expression, hence the emphasis in this conference on “fears” and “angers” in the plural to encourage a wide range of papers on all sorts of fear-like and anger-like feelings and behaviours in different cultures and periods.
The conference aims to bring humanities scholars of all periods into conversation with each other and with experts in the contemporary study of emotions, including neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers, and linguists.

Papers can address either a single emotion in the fearful or angry categories, or examine the relationship between the two. Possible topics could include:
–       The varieties of fear – from anxiety and angst to mortal fear and terror. What were the objects and causes of fearful emotions in different times and places?
–       The varieties of anger – from annoyance and irritation to ire, vengeance, fury and rage. The different objects and causes of angry emotions.
–       The history of terms and concepts for different fearful or angry emotions.
–       Visual and literary representations.
–       Material culture and emotions.
–       Theories of fearful and angry emotions in the histories of science, medicine, philosophy, theology, and other learned discourses.
–       The relationships between fearful and angry emotions. Does one cause the other? Are they complementary or opposite?
–       What historical and contemporary approaches to fear or anger can learn from each other.
–       Historical and contemporary debates about the number and identity of the so-called basic or primary emotions.
–       Terror and rage as political emotions (past and present).

Fears and Angers: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives will extend over two days, including plenary sessions by distinguished invited speakers, Round Table discussion groups, and numerous panels consisting of three 20 minute papers with discussion. One or more refereed publications of essays based on proceedings are expected.

The conference website is available here:

Paper proposals:
For individual paper proposals (20 minutes), individuals should submit a paper title, abstract (c. 250 words), name, brief biography (no more than 100 words), institutional affiliation and status, and contact details. For panel proposals, the organiser of the panel should submit the same information for each of the three speakers, and the name of the person to chair the panel. Please send the proposals to  (QMUL) and Ms Pam Bond ( (CHE) by March 17, 2017.

Conference Committee:
Dr Elena Carrera (Queen Mary, University of London)
Professor Thomas Dixon (Queen Mary, University of London)
Evelien Lemmens (Queen Mary, University of London)
Professor Andrew Lynch (University of Western Australia)
Dr Helen Stark (Queen Mary, University of London)
Dr Giovanni Tarantino (University of Western Australia)


Historical & Contemporary Perspectives on Medical, Managerial and Economic Influence on Health Policy-Making


10-12 July 2017


At the Liverpool Medical Institution (LMI),

114 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool,
L3 5SR, United Kingdom


The second half of the twentieth century witnessed a sea change in approaches to health policy making. In many health systems, there had been heavy reliance on the involvement of the medical profession through their representative bodies and advisory committees. In more recent decades, new sources of expertise have influenced the process. Individual special advisers have improved the technical expertise available to government ministers, and their number has steadily increased. Two new groups in particular have been brought into the process: management consultants and health economists. However, we still appear to know relatively little about what their real impact on health policymaking has been.

This conference will bring together academics, politicians, civil servants, and medical professionals to discuss these and other issues, historical and contemporary.


Proposals are invited for papers which consider any aspect of health policymaking, but we particularly aim to encourage debate in the following areas:

  • Medical expertise, clinical autonomy and the role of the professions
  • Economic expertise and the impact of Health Economics
  • Managerial expertise and the role of management consultants
  • Special Advisers and the relationship between politicians and experts
  • The role of think tanks
  • Reorganisation and reform in healthcare
  • Analysis of health systems
  • Theories of policymaking and health
  • International and comparative perspectives on health policymaking


We welcome proposals for individual papers (please submit an abstract of 300 words) and panels (please submit an outline of 200 words).


We have funding to support the travel, accommodation and conference fees for participants.


Please submit proposals by 24 February 2017 to


Confirmed Keynote Speakers:


Rt. Hon. Frank Dobson, Former Secretary of State for Health (1997-99)

Frank Dobson was Labour Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras (1979-2015) and Secretary of State for Health (1997-1999). He oversaw the creation of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).


Scott Greer, Ph.D.

Scott Greer is Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the politics of health policy, with a special interest in the European Union. He also holds a post of Senior Expert Advisor on Health Governance for the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.


This conference is part of the Wellcome Trust-funded project The Governance of Health: Medical, Economic and Managerial Expertise in Britain since 1948.  For more information on the project, please visit The Governance of Health website.