Medicine, Disability and Science

Historical anatomical figures.

Historical anatomical figures from Claude Bernard, Précis iconographique de médecine opératoire et d'anatomie chirurgicale / Wellcome Library

These interconnected fields examine the historical production of scientific and medical knowledge and its application and transformation in diverse social practices around the globe. This group of scholars focuses not just on the social and cultural meanings of medicine and science, but also the lived experiences of historical actors - especially those at the margins of society. This field is interdisciplinary by nature, fostering fruitful conversations between science studies, disability studies and the study of gender and sexuality. 

Sub-fields

History of Gender and Sexuality

The study of gender and sexuality is embedded within all areas of historical inquiry. Our faculty explore the myriad ways that ideas about of manhood and womanhood and sexual relationships and identities have shaped, and been shaped by, societies.

Faculty

Rosie the Riveter.

Alfred Palmer, "Rosie the Riveter"
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

History of Science

The history of science explores the ways that people have worked to make sense of the world around them. This field considers everything from the relationship between humans and the natural world and to the rise of scientific reason to issues of bioethics, and serves as the foundation for other fields, such as the history of medicine, disability, and the environment.

Faculty

Humboldt and Bonplant in the Jungle.

Humboldt and Bonplant in the Jungle
Public Domain Wikimedia Commons

History of Medicine

The history of medicine traces not only the development of therapies and practices, but also the ways in which people and societies have attempted to make sense of health and illness. Our department has long had a strength in the history of medicine, helping to shape the contours of this ever-changing field.

Faculty

Thomas Eakins, The Agnew Clinic, 1889.

Thomas Eakins, The Agnew Clinic, 1889
Public Domain Wikimedia Commons

History of Disability

The Department of History is at the forefront of the burgeoning field of disability history. This field explores the history of how societies and cultures have understood disability as well as the lived experiences of disabled people.

Faculty

Patients at a sanitorium in Indiana, 1926.

Patients at a sanitorium in Indiana, 1926
Wellcome Collection

History of Drugs and Alcohol

The history of drugs and alcohol is more than tracing the development or consumption of mind-altering substances, but the story of how society and culture has shaped, and been shaped by, the use, misuse, and control of such substances.

Faculty

People's Drug Store located at 8th and H Streets, NE in Washington, D.C.

People's Drug Store located at 8th and H Streets, NE in Washington, D.C.
Public Domain Wikimedia Commons

Faculty