Civilisation and Disease 1750-2000: Sources (HIH3100)

StaffProfessor Mark Jackson - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesAt least 90 credits of History at Level 1 and/or 2.
Co-requisitesHIH3101 (Context)
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module will focus on the sources available for the study of diseases of civilisation in the modern world. It will use a range of sources, including medical journals and books, local and national newspapers, institutional records, contemporary films, government reports, and parliamentary debates in order to trace not only shifting patterns of disease and shifting therapeutic strategies, but also the changing ideological weight attached to the notion of `diseases of civilisation'. Students will be asked to focus on the reliability and value to the historian of different types of source and, in particular, to explore the manner in which scientific understandings of the relationship between civilisation and disease, and between health and the environment, have been constructed within particular social, political, and cultural contexts.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. A detailed knowledge of the different sources available for the study of medicine and the environment in the modern world, together with a very close specialist knowledge of those sources which the students focus upon in their seminar presentations and written work.
  • 2. Ability to analyse the complex diversity of the sources studied

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Ability to analyse closely original sources and to assess their reliability as historical evidence. Ability to focus on and comprehend complex texts
  • 4. Ability to understand and deploy shifting medical terminology in a comprehensible manner.
  • 5. Ability to follow shifting, and often complex, medical discourse across the period.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Independent and autonomous study and group work, including presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning
  • 7. Ability to digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment
  • 8. Ability to present complex arguments orally

Syllabus plan

The module will focus on primary sources relating to the following subjects: the `epidemiological transition'; gout; madness and civilisation; degeneration and the urban environment; infanticide; tuberculosis; asthma ;allergies; sport and medicine; literature and medicine.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities44Seminars (22x2hr)
Guided independent study256Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio80Total of 6000 words 1-8Verbal and written
Individual presentation2020-30 minutes1-8Verbal and written

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

William Cadogan, A Dissertation on the Gout and all Chronic Diseases, (J. Dodsley, 1771).
Henry Maudsley, `The alleged increase in insanity', Journal of Mental Science, 23 (1877), 45-54.
Alfred Tredgold, Mental Deficiency:Amentia, (Bailliere, Tindall and Cox, 1908).
The Western Times, The Exeter Flying Post, The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 1865-6.
Charles Blackley, Experimental Researches on the Cause and Nature of Catarrhus Aestivus, (London, 1873).
George Miller Beard, A Practical Treatise on Nervous Exhaustion (Neurasthenia), (1880).
John Freeman, Hay-fever: The Key to the Allergic Disorders, (William Heinemann, 1950).
Royal College of Physicians, Allergy: Conventional and Alternative Concepts, (London, 1992).

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?