Health and Medicine in Modern Britain (HISM205)

Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level7
Pre-requisitesThose of entry to the MA programme
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of this module is to study the changing features of disease, health, and medical care from the mid-nineteenth century through to the late twentieth century. The first half of the course will explore major themes within the history of modern medicine: the `epidemiological transition' from acute infectious to chronic degenerative diseases; the emergence of the modern medical profession; the creation of the NHS; and the relationship between war and medicine. The second half of the course will then focus on specific topics (such as disability, human experimentation, allergy, abortion, transplantation, and others) in order to analyse the politics and practice of medicine in the modern world. In addition to introducing students to the main developments in modern health care, this module also examines a wide variety of sources and explores central methodological issues relating to researching and writing the history of medicine.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Detailed knowledge of the development of modern medicine, together with an awareness of critical historiographical issues within medical history.
  • 2. An understanding of how medical knowledge and practice have been shaped by political, socio-economic, and cultural factors.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Ability to analyse and evaluate a range of historical materials
  • 4. Capacity to read critically and to present arguments persuasively
  • 5. An understanding of the ways in which knowledge is constructed

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Independent study and group work, including the presentation of historical arguments
  • 7. Ability to analyse, summarise, and organise material to produce a coherent and cogent argument, within specific deadlines.

Syllabus plan

Week 1 Introduction Week 2 Approaches to the history of medicine Week 3 Patterns of disease I Week 4 Patterns of disease II Week 5 The modern medical profession I Week 6 The modern medical profession IIĀ  Essay 1 due Week 7 War and medicine Week 8 The rise and fall of asylums Week 9 Infant and maternal welfare Week 10 Contemporary history and modern health policies Essay 2 due Week 11 Conclusion and dissertations and funding discussion

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 activities22seminar

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
Essay 383000 words 1-7oral and written
Essay 625000 words1-7oral and written

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Charles Webster (ed.), Caring for Health: History and Diversity, (Open University Press, 1993).

W. F. Bynum and Roy Porter (eds.), Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine, (Routledge, 1993).

Helen Jones, Health and Society in Twentieth-Century Britain, (London, 1994).

Rudolph Klein, The Politics of the NHS, (Longman, 1989).

Roger Cooter, Mark Harrison, and Steve Sturdy (eds.), War, Medicine and Modernity, (Stroud, 1999).

Mark Jackson, The Borderland of Imbecility: Medicine, Society and the Fabrication of the Feeble Mind in Late Victorian and Edwardian England, (Manchester, 2000).

Rosemary Stevens, Medical Practice in Modern England, (Yale, 1966).

Barbara Brookes, Abortion in England, 1900-67, (London, 1988).

Elizabeth Fee and Daniel M. Fox (eds.), AIDS: The Burdens of History, (Berkeley, 1988).

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Available as distance learning?