Civilisation and Disease 1750-2000: Context (HIH3101)

StaffProfessor Mark Jackson - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesAt least 90 credits of History at level 1 and/or level 2.
Co-requisitesHIH3100 (Sources)
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module will aim to focus on the history of health, medicine and the environment since 1750. It will investigate key issues such as the putative links between lifestyle and disease, the impact of the environment on health, concerns about the urban environment, debates about the relative importance of heredity and the environment, and the role of medicine both in alleviating, and contributing to, disease. In addition to tracing key epidemiological trends, it will also focus closely on key methodological issues within the history of medicine: the social construction of medical knowledge; historical realism; the ideological power of environmentalism; the shifting impact of notions such as `diseases of civilisation' and `fashionable diseases'. Students will be asked to focus very closely on the key themes in the history of medicine of the period and to identify areas of both continuity and change over time.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. A broad and detailed knowledge of the different meanings attached to the concept of `diseases of civilisation' in the modern period, as well as close specialist knowledge of the key developments within the history of medicine and the environment, developed through independent study and seminar work.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 2. Ability to analyse the key developments within a particular field within the history of medicine. Ability to focus on and comprehend complex issues
  • 3. Ability to understand and deploy shifting medical terminology in a comprehensible manner
  • 4. Ability to follow the often complex reasoning of medical discourse.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

Syllabus plan

The module will focus on 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
Better of two essay marks 332 x 3000 words1-7Verbal and written
Unseen Examination 672 questions in 2 hours1-7Written

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

R. Porter and W. F. Bynum (eds.), Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine, (Routledge, 1993)
B. Inglis, The Diseases of Civilisation, (Hodder and Stoughton, 1981)
R. Porter and G. S. Rousseau, Gout: The Patrician Malady, (Yale UP, 1998)
G. Stedman Jones, Outcast London, (Clarendon Press, 1971)
M. Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, (London, 1971)
M. Jackson, The Borderland of Imbecility, (Manchester UP, 2000)
S. Lock, L. Reynolds, and E. M. Tansey (eds.), Ashes to Ashes: The History of Smoking and Health, (Rodopi, 1998)
K. Ott, Fevered Lives: Tuberculosis in American Culture since 1870, (Harvard UP, 1996)
J. T. Patterson, The Dread Disease: Cancer and Modern American Culture, (Harvard UP, 1987)

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?