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ENRICH-0030 – Hist/Sci: Comparative History of Medicine (ENRICH-0030_MED)

A Comparative History of Medicine: Revealing Our Scientific Progress and Cultural Priorities

We tend to believe that the practice of medicine has continuously advanced, that what we have today is the best it’s ever been and the future holds only improvements. But at the same time, alternative therapies are flourishing, suggesting that many people are dissatisfied with modern scientific medicine. How did we get here? Join Hilary Smith, assistant professor of History, as she explores the history of medicine from ancient Greece and China up to now, revealing the ways that it reflects who we are as much as what we know. First, discuss two traditions of classical medicine: that of ancient Greece and Rome and that of ancient China. Surprisingly, those traditions are more similar to each other than they are to modern medicine. Read oaths made by ancient practitioners and compare them to today’s oaths, asking what they show about how doctors’ training and attitudes have changed. Next, examine how perceived shortcomings in scientific medicine have contributed to the popularity of so-called “alternative” medicine. How have people in the West perceived Chinese and other non-biomedical forms of healing, and how have they been assimilated into modern societies where scientific medicine is the mainstream? Smith neither advocates nor disparages the different forms of medicine; rather, this course examines the important moments that led us to where we are today.

Four sessions
Tue., 6:30-8:30 pm, Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28, 2017
Location: Room 187, Sturm Hall, DU campus

Hilary A. Smith, PhD, is an assistant professor with the DU Department of History where she specializes in Chinese history and the history of medicine and health.
Course Details
Location: DU Main CampusMode of Study: In-personPlaces Left: 26Waitlist Places Left: 10Fee: $175


Days of the WeekStart DateEnd DateTimeVenueInstructor
Tuesday7th November 201728th November 201706:30PM - 08:30PMSturm HallHilary Smith