History of Western Medicine is a free-standing, 20-credit, level 1 half course run by the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies subject group of the School of Social and Political Sciences. It is available to all students. History of Western Medicine does not presume any prior knowledge, either of history or of medicine. In the course, we will cover the changing role of medical practitioners and patients, will look at historically shifting concepts of the body and of disease and we will consider the impact of epidemics at different times. Towards the end, a series of thematic lectures will focus in particular on the extent and limits of scientific thinking, and on the relationship between scientific research and public policy in past and present medicine. Special attention will be paid to diagnostic and therapeutic practices associated with different systems of medical knowledge and how they were adapted to the particular social and historical environments in which they developed.
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336, VAT Registration Number GB 592 9507 00, and is acknowledged by the UK authorities as a “Recognised body” which has been granted degree awarding powers.