Almost everyone experiences disease at some point in their lives. Yet ‘disease’ is a slippery concept. Why do some societies see diseases such as ‘lovesickness’ or ‘hysteria’ where others do not? Why do some societies experience especial problems with epidemics, and others with the diseases of old age? How do we analyse the experiences of sufferers, families and doctors? This module will explore the ways in which different societies have defined and explained diseases, and how they have responded to them. It will also encourage students to apply these broad questions to the history of particular diseases such as plague, leprosy, madness, or venereal disease.