History of Medicine in Practice

History of Medicine in Practice

March 26-28, 2014, Uppsala University, Sweden

The aim of the conference “History of Medicine in Practice” is to
stimulate a discussion about the place of history of medicine in a rapidly
changing academic landscape, where discipline-based research and education
are being challenged by demands for cross-disciplinary integration and
extra-academic “impact.”

Increasingly over the past decades, historians of medicine have been asked
to articulate and demonstrate the practical value and relevance of their
work to pressing contemporary concerns; this development is currently
accelerating. For example, it has been suggested that the history of
medicine should display its utility as an instrument for evaluating
decisions concerning bioethics and health care policy, as a resource for
supporting the public engagement in medicine, and as an educational tool
for integrating the humanities with medicine. The emergence of “medical
humanities” is one example of this trend. At the same time historians of
medicine have debated whether the burgeoning of methods and sources within
the field has been productive. While many have considered the
methodological perspectives and analytical techniques offered by, for
instance, anthropology, sociology, feminist theory, and Science and
Technology Studies as enriching and energising for their work, others have
blamed these developments and trends for the indistinct disciplinary
boundaries of the history of medicine and its uncertain institutional
framework. At all events, it could be argued that this ambiguous status
has enlarged the potential audience and impact of the field.

Although these questions have been addressed in various forums over time,
they have less often been brought together for dialogue and debate. This
conference, therefore, hopes to gather historians of medicine as well as
professionals from the medical community and other sectors to discuss and
reflect on, in particular, two topics: first the relevance and uses of the
history of medicine, and second, the increasingly methodological and
empirical complexity of the field. It will comprise thematic sessions with
papers, two keynote lectures, and a concluding general discussion.

Keynote speakers are:
Professor Ludmilla Jordanova, King’s College, London
Professor Lene Koch, University of Copenhagen

The scientific committee of the conference invites proposals for papers on
the following themes, though other topics within the broad framework of
the conference are also encouraged:

• The relevance and uses of the history of medicine in politics,
policy-making, ethical debates, and controversies within medicine
• The role of the history of medicine in medical education
• Methodological opportunities and challenges of cross-disciplinary
research and collaboration
• Public history and public engagement of medicine

Abstracts for papers of 200-300 words should be submitted no later than
October 1, 2013 to David Thorsén, david.thorsen@idehist.uu.se. Please
provide full name, institutional affiliation, and contact details. The
format of the conference (two parallel sessions) will not allow for more
than c. 30 papers. By November 1, 2013 applicants will be notified if
their papers have been accepted or not.

The conference, including lunches and conference dinner, is free of
charge. There may be possibilities, in particular for junior participants
(also PhD candidates), to obtain economic support for attendance. Please
indicate in the application if such support is requisite for attendance
and what level of support is needed (travel, accommodation, or both). More
information about this will be publicised at a later date.

The conference will be two full days, i.e. morning to late afternoon March
27-28, 2014. Late afternoon/evening March 26 is reserved for registration,
reception, and possibly one keynote lecture.

The conference language is English.

It is possible to apply for participation as attendant without giving a
paper. The deadline for such applications is also October 1. For those
interested, please indicate the motivation to take part in the conference.
No economic support will be given to attendees who do not present papers.

Selected papers from the conference will be considered for publication.

The conference is organised by the Department of History of Science and
Ideas, Uppsala University, a leading centre of research and education in
the history of medicine in Sweden.


Annika Berg, Uppsala University/Stockholm University
Maria Björk, Uppsala University
Maria Björkman, Uppsala University
Karin Johannisson, Uppsala University
Solveig Jülich, Stockholm University
David Thorsén, Uppsala University
Sven Widmalm, Uppsala University