Spring 2012

Disease and Doctors: An Introduction to the History of Western Medicine

Listed in: History, as HIST-212

Formerly listed as: HIST-66


John W. Servos (Section 01)


[C] Disease has always been a part of human experience; doctoring is among our oldest professions. This course surveys the history of Western medicine from antiquity to the modern era. It does so by focusing on the relationship between medical theory and medical practice, giving special attention to Hippocratic medical learning and the methods by which Hippocratic practitioners built a clientele, medieval uses of ancient medical theories in the definition and treatment of disease, the genesis of novel chemical, anatomical, and physiological conceptions of disease in the early modern era, and the transformations of medical practice associated with the influence of clinical and experimental medicine in the nineteenth century. The course concludes by examining some contemporary medical dilemmas in the light of their historical antecedents. Two class meetings per week.

Spring semester. Professor Servos.

HIST 212 - L/D

Section 01
M 08:30 AM - 09:50 AM OCTA 201
W 08:30 AM - 09:50 AM OCTA 201

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
And the Band Played On St, Martin's, 2007 Randy Shilts Amherst Books TBD
Black Death and the Transformation of the West Harvard, 1997 David Helrihy Amherst Books TBD
The Epidemic: A Global History of AIDS Smithsonian Books, 2006 Jonathan Engel Amherst Books TBD
Greatest Benefit of Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity Norton, 1997 Roy Porter Amherst Books TBD
Hippocratic Writings Penguin, 1978 G.E.R. Lloyd Amherst Books TBD
Rising Plague Prometheus Books, 2009 Brad Spellberg Amherst Books TBD
Ghost Map Riverhead Books, 2006 Steve Johnson Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020