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History 3537: Matters of life and death: The history of ill-health and medicine

Fall Semester 2009
Tuesday/Thursday, 12:30-1:45
Anne Belk Hall 1139
Office Hours: Tues./Thurs. 2:00-3:00p.m.;
Wednesday, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Professor Lucinda McCray Beier
Office: Anne Belk Hall 1097
Telephone: 262-2282

Course Description
Although birth, illness, and death are universal human experiences, the ways people conceptualize and manage
these experiences have varied widely from one culture, society, and time period to another. This lecture-discussion
course opens with a brief survey of ill-health and medicine in the West from Classical times to the present, then
concentrates on suffering and healing in the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It
examines the relationship between medical theories and therapies, observes the roles of practitioners and
institutions, and considers the impact of medical science and public health measures on health and welfare. It
explores a shifting range of ideas about disease causation and the evolution of health care occupations, delivery
and payment systems, and public policies. In addition, it considers the experiences, responsibilities, beliefs and
perceptions of ordinary people dealing with matters of life and death — health, illness, prevention, and treatment
— during the times and places under consideration. Thus, it explores cultural, social, political, and economic
dimensions of issues that continue to challenge us.
This course depends heavily on class discussion of assigned readings. Therefore, the success of the course
depends upon student participation.
Course Reading
Roy Porter, Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine (New York and London: W.W. Norton, 2002).
Selections: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her Diary (New
York: Vintage, 1990). Available in ASULearn Readings Folder.
Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of American Medicine (Basic Books, 1982).
Sandra Lee Barney, Authorized to Heal: Gender, Class, and the Transformation of Medicine in Appalachia, 18801930 (University of North Carolina Press, 2000)
Nancy Tomes, The Gospel of Germs: Men, Women, and the Microbe in American Life (Harvard University Press,

History 274: The History of Western Medicine

Lucinda McCray Beier

Spring 2009


and the range of learned and unlearned healers in traditional Europe. and Two 5-page essays answering questions from lists provided by the professor. paraphrases.appstate. any edition (Boston and NY: Bedford/St. the influence of Galen on Western medicine. reasons for absence must be documented (e. Plagiarism is a serious offence.g.library. Use Rampolla’s A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. court appearances. All quotations. To be excused from class attendance. Points will be deducted for unexcused absences. and information obtained from sources must be cited in either footnotes or endnotes. Turning essays in after the due date will result in a loss of points. the professor may give a pop quiz. If students regularly come unprepared. Evaluation Examination 1 Final examination Essays (2 @ 100 points apiece) Class participation Total points 100 150 200 50 500 Policies: Please inform the professor ahead of time (preferably via e-mail) if you must be late to class or leave class early.Course Requirements and Evaluation Students are expected to read and be prepared to discuss the readings assigned for the course according to the schedule below. bereavement.).edu/reference/howTo/cite/index. etc.html) to guide your citation style. Focus on humoral theory. Students who copy other people’s work without attribution will be referred to Student Judicial Affairs. Discuss Porter: Chapters 3 and 4 September 3 Healing: therapeutics and surgery Focus on revolutions in surgery and internal medicine History 274: The History of Western Medicine Lucinda McCray Beier Spring 2009 2 . Two examinations. Martin’s) or Appalachian State University Library’s Chicago Manual style sheet (available online at http://www. Class Schedule August 25 Introduction August 27 Disease and doctors.. Additional assignments include: Being prepared at the beginning of each class to either identify an argument made in the assigned reading or ask a question about that reading: arguments and questions must be presented in writing at the professor’s request. Students must bring assigned readings to class and come prepared to ask questions and discuss them. Make-up examinations will be offered only in documented cases of need. illness. Discuss Porter: Chapters 1 and 2 September 1 The evolution of medical science Focus on the scientific revolution and changes in the medical gaze. Cell phones must be turned off during class.

Introduction and Chapter 1 History 274: The History of Western Medicine Lucinda McCray Beier Spring 2009 3 . Introduction (3-29) September 24 Doctors in 19th-century USA Discuss Starr. November 3 Experience is local: Health care in Appalachia Discuss Barney.) September 22 American physicians and the development of cultural authority Discuss Starr. Chapter 2 (290-334) October 15 FALL BREAK. Book 1.Discuss Porter: Chapters 5 and 6 September 8 Hospitals and modern medicine Focus on changes in utilization and perception of hospitals Discuss Porter: Chapters 7 and 8 September 10 Healthcare in early America Readings from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Book 2. Chapter 1 (235-289) October 13 The advent of health insurance Discuss Starr. Book 2.S. The Midwife’s Tale (SHAC Drive) Film: “The Midwife’s Tale: September 17 EXAM 1 (Bring a blue-book to class. Book 2. NO CLASS MEETING. resistance to “socialized medicine” Discuss Starr. October 20 Zenith and decline of cultural authority Discuss Starr. Chapters 1 and 2 (30-78) September 29 The consolidation of professional authority Discuss Starr. Chapter 5 (420-449) October 27 After Starr: On-going crisis and resistance to reform October 29 NO CLASS MEETING.. Book 1.m. Book 1. Chapter 3 (79-144) October 1 American hospitals and public health Discuss Starr. Book 1. Book 2. ESSAY 1 due to History Department Office by 12:30 p. Chapters 4 and 5 (145-197) October 6 The triumph of private professional medicine in the United States Discuss Starr. Chapters 3 and 4 (335-419) October 22 Corporate medicine and the eve of managed care Discuss Starr. Chapter 6 (198-234) October 8 U. The Midwife’s Tale (SHAC Drive) Film: “The Midwife’s Tale” September 15 Healthcare in early America Readings from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Introduction. WORK ON ESSAY 2. Chapter 5 and Conclusion ESSAY 2 due November 19 The germ theory arrives in the United States Discuss Tomes. Section II November 26 NO CLASS MEETING. Anne Belk Hall 1139: FINAL EXAM (Bring a blue-book to class.) History 274: The History of Western Medicine Lucinda McCray Beier Spring 2009 4 . Preface. Chapters 3 and 4 November 12 NO CLASS MEETING. Chapter 2 November 10 Women. clinical medicine. and Section I November 24 Germs. THANKSGIVING BREAK. Section IV LAST DAY OF CLASS Friday. November 17 Public health. December 11. TB.. Section III December 3 Decline of the gospel of germs Discuss Tomes. and housekeeping Discuss Tomes. December 1 Zenith of the gospel of germs Discuss Tomes.November 5 Professional medicine in Appalachia Discuss Barney. and health care services in Appalachia Discuss Barney. 12:00 p.m. and modern medicine Discuss Barney. social class.