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Conferences and Symposia in the History of Medicine

Conferences and Symposia in the History of Medicine

The History of Medicine Division (HMD) regularly sponsors conferences and symposia on a wide variety of topics related to the history of medicine, health care, and health practices. Recent programs have looked at biomedical funding and research after World War Two, the visual culture of public health campaigns, and histories of cancer in the twentieth century. Beginning in 2001, HMD inaugurated a series of bi-annual symposia that bring together participants from around the world around a particular theme. All conferences and symposia sponsored by HMD are free of charge and open to the public.

Recent Conferences and Symposia

  • From Orchids to Octopi: An Evolutionary Fantasy

    Tues, Oct 20, 2009, 6:30 PM : A carnival barker, dinosaurs, pregnancy hallucinations, and a muralist's evolving work all play a role in this witty new play about the theory of evolution. Charles and Emma Darwin comment on it all. Darwin Year Theatrical Event! Free & open to the public! Complimentary refreshments & snacks, 5:45pm! For more information contact: Michael Sappol, sappolm@mail.nih.gov, 301.594.0348. Directions, security, parking, etc.: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/about/visitus.html

  • Finished Proofs? A Symposium to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Publication of On the Origin of Species (1859) (conference program in pdf)

    This symposium (co-organized by the History of Medicine Division and the Office of History, National Institutes of Health) brings together leading historians, philosophers, and scientists to explore changing understandings of Darwinian theory in the last 150 years.

  • Meat, Medicine, and Human Health in the Twentieth Century (conference program in pdf)

    (Book Announcement)

    This workshop, held in November 2006, brought together historians from the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom whose work addressed aspects of the relationship of meat to human health during the twentieth century. The workshop was co-sponsored by the National Library of Medicine; the Institut de Recherche sur les Sciences et la Technologie (IRIST, EA 3424) at the Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg; The Medical Faculty at the Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg; and the Maison InterUniversitaire des Sciences de l'Homme-Alsace (MISHA). A selection of papers from this workshop was published by Pickering and Chatto in 2010.

  • Global Health Histories (conference program in pdf)

    A symposium held in November 2005, brought together scholars, scientists, administrators, and activists to examine global public health crises in historical and contemporary perspectives. The symposium was co-sponsored by The Institute of the History of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University, The Fogarty International Center of NIH, and the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine, in association with The Global Health Histories Initiative of the World Health Organization.

  • Women Physicians, Women’s Politics, and Women’s Health: Emerging Narratives (conference program in word document)

    This symposium formed part of the History of Medicine Division’s recognition of Women’s History Month, and was held in March 2005 in conjunction with the exhibition, Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians. Participants delivered papers on a diverse range of topics, including the role of women healers in Ancient societies, the culture of medical education and practice for women physicians in the nineteenth century, and feminism and women’s health. Selected papers from this event will also be included in an edited collection, planned for publication in 2006–2007. The event was co-sponsored by the Elizabeth and Chauncey Leake Memorial Fund, Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch.

  • Cancer in the Twentieth Century (conference program in pdf)

    This conference, held in November 2004, brought together historians from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom whose work addressed aspects of cancer awareness, prevention, research, treatment, or the experiences of patients in the U.S. and Britain during the twentieth century. The conference was co-sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, the Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at the University of Manchester (UK), and the Society for the Social History of Medicine. A selection of papers from this workshop was published in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine in Spring 2007.

  • Visual Culture and Public Health (conference program in pdf)

    Public health has a long and distinguished visual record. From seventeenth-century engravings to today's digital images, visual representations have played a critical role in educating the public about modern health crises. The History of Medicine Division's second symposium, held in October 2003, featured presentations by contemporary scholars representing the disciplines of history of medicine, history of science, anthropology, sociology, geography, art history, and visual and media studies.

  • New Frontiers in Biomedical Research, 1945-1980 (conference program in pdf)

    The History of Medicine Division's first symposium, held in October 2001, highlighted the personal experiences of three scientists who helped shape the field of twentieth-century biomedicine: Julius Axelrod, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for his work on neurotransmitters; Donald Frederickson, the director of the National Institutes of Health from 1975-1981; and Joshua Lederberg, winner of the 1958 Nobel Prize for his work on bacterial genetics. The scientists discussed their contributions through extensive dialogue with contemporary historians of science and audience participants.