History of Premodern Medicine

Fall 2015 • HIST 300-017
info | readings

Fred Gibbs (fwgibbs@unm.edu)
Mesa Vista Hall, 1077
Office Hours: M 10:15-11:45; W 3:15-4:45; almost anytime by appointment


All readings below are accessible via the Zotero Library for the course at https://www.zotero.org/groups/385160/items.

1: Introductions

  • M: Introduction to the course, syllabus, and expectations
  • W: What does the Internet say about premodern medicine? How do we characterize common approaches?
  • F: Vivian Nutton, “Healers and the Healing Act in Classical Greece” European Review 7, no. 1 (1999): 27–35; Hippocrates, Sacred Disease.

2: Classical Medicine I

  • M: Medicine in the Greek World: WMT, 11-31; 35-38.
  • W: Hippocrates: Epidemics, Prognosis, Airs, Waters, Places, Aphorisms (these are listed in the Zotero library under “Hippocratic Writings”.
  • F: Roman Medicine: WMT, 39-58.

3: Classical Medicine II

  • M: Intro to Galen: WMT, 58-70.
  • W: Galen: Galen: On Food and Diet (skim 1-5; 6-13); On the Humours (14-18); On the Causes of Disease, 46-61; On the Powers of Foods, 68-89 (skim for flavor). All these are contained in the PDF under Galen: On Food and Diet.
  • F: Darrel W. Amundsen, “Medicine and Faith in Early Christianity,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 56, no. 3 (1982): 326–50.

4: Wikipedia Writing

  • M: No Class: Labor Day!
  • W: What makes for a good Wikipedia article? What does Wikipedia say about classical medicine and relevant topics? BEFORE CLASS: Do research on these questions by looking at Wikipedia for information on the topics (both broad and specific) that we’ve discussed or that you’re interested in learning more about. Come prepared to discuss the specific pages and topics that you’ve research. It will be good to prepare some notes ahead of time.
  • F: Form working groups; plan articles/revisions; create bibliographies; identify (and request) scholarly sources

5: Early Medieval Medicine

  • M: Peregrine Horden, “What’s Wrong with Early Medieval Medicine?,” Social History of Medicine (2009).
  • W: Faith Wallis, “Signs and Senses: Diagnosis and Prognosis in Early Medieval Pulse and Urine Texts,” Social History of Medicine 13, no. 2 (2000): 265–78; Excerpts of common medical advice, 34-42; 49-54.
  • F: Present article updates

6: Article Drafting and Reviewing

  • M: No Class: Writing Day!
  • W: Bring printed outlines of first drafts of articles; exchange them
  • F: Return critiques to authors; discussion of critiques

7: Arabic Medicine

  • M: WMT, 93-110.
  • W: WMT, 110-138.
  • F: Medical imagery:
  • Greek medical manuscripts
  • Arabic medical manuscripts
  • more
  • more
  • more
  • medeval medicine
  • more
  • AND, Google Image search for ancient/greek/premodern/etc medical manuscripts/books/etc and see what shows up. What do you see from a broad array of images that’s lost when looking at individual manuscript images?
  • AND, don’t forget about wikipedia images! Please critique images in articles relevant to your own articles, particularly noting WHAT KINDS of images are there and HOW they are used.

8: Late Medieval Medicine

9: Finishing Article #1

  • M: DUE: Bring to class printed versions of your article drafts for exchange
  • W: DUE: Return drafts to authors
  • F: DUE: FINAL drafts (note article can be revised throughout the semester)

10: Late Medieval Medical Practice

  • M: Nancy G. Siraisi, “Taddeo Alderotti and Bartolomeo Da Varignana on the Nature of Medical Learning,” Isis 68, no. 1 (March 1, 1977): 27–39.
  • W: Michael McVaugh, “Surgical Education in the Middle Ages,” Dynamis 20 (2000): 283–304.
  • F: NO CLASS, but you need to read about posting to Wikipedia and POST YOUR ARTICLES ONLINE! Review the general contribution page and the Wiki Markup Guide. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect, but get as close as you can. WARNING: This will take 2-3 times longer than you think it will because you will keep having little questions like “Why don’t my footnotes show up?” You’re smart and you’ll figure it out with the documentation. But you need to allow time for it.

11: Plague and Disease

  • M: Jon Arrizabalaga, “Facing the Black Death: Perceptions and Reactions of University Medical Practitioners,” in Practical Medicine from Salerno to the Black Death (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 237–88.
  • W: Selections from medieval accounts of the Black Death. Look at the Horrox reading in Zotero; skim the introduction PDF; read more carefully the explanations PDF.
  • F: Daniel Antoine, “The Archaeology of ‘Plague,’” Medical History. Supplement, no. 27 (2008): 101–14; Stephanie Haensch et al., “Distinct Clones of Yersinia Pestis Caused the Black Death,” ed. Nora J. Besansky, PLoS Pathogens 6, no. 10 (October 7, 2010).

12: Wikipedia and Medieval Medicine

  • M: What does Wikipedia say about medieval medicine? Come to class prepared to discuss the impression and knowledge base for medieval medicine that Wikipedia offers. READ WIDELY!
  • W: Come to class with specific articles in mind to edit or create; we will coordinate our efforts during class time.
  • F: Nancy Siraisi, “Oratory and Rhetoric in Renaissance Medicine,” Journal of the History of Ideas 65, no. 2 (2004): 191–211.

13: Renaissance “Revolutions”

14: Preparing the final articles

  • M: DUE (optionally): Bring paper versions of your article drafts to class to give to me; I’ll return them on Wednesday. Class will be for research and writing questions, as well as reviewing common problems from the first articles.
  • W: Revising existing articles
  • F: No Class (HSS)

15: Work and Rest

  • M: No Class: Research Day
  • W: No Class: Writing Day
  • F: No Class: Thanksgiving Break

16: Conclusions

  • M: Comprehensive article assessment
  • W: Course conclusions
  • F: Evaluations