BA History and American Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Bodies in History: An introduction to the History of Medicine

Course unit fact file
Unit code HSTM10772
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Bodies in History provides an introduction to medicine in Western culture from the ancient Greeks to the present. You will learn about the themes explored by historians of medicine including: class, race, gender and national identity. Areas of study include Renaissance Anatomy and Eugenics.


To provide an introduction to medicine in Western culture. To show how, through a focus on bodies (human and social), historians of medicine address themes such as class, race, gender, national identity, economic life and cultural production, and how scientific and medical theories and practices can be understood as part of wider histories.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will have acquired a knowledge of the outlines of history of Western medicine; skills in linking 'body histories' to wider contexts; critical abilities in analysing historical arguments; experience of presenting historical arguments in written seminar responses; and experience of presenting oral arguments in seminar discussions. In addition, students taking the 20 credit unit will be able to find and research a topic of their own choosing; to find and assess critically primary and secondary sources; to write, with full scholarly apparatus, a report on their individual research project.

This unit can also be taken as a 10 credit version (HSTM10272).

Teaching and learning methods



Assessment methods

2 hour examination (25%); practical assessment (25%); written project (50%)

Feedback methods

Students may ask questions at any time during lectures and seminars. Teaching staff can usually answer specific queries by email or during office hours, and will provide contact details in the course handbook or at lectures. All submitted coursework will be returned with annotations and an assessment sheet explaining the mark awarded.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 11
Practical classes & workshops 16.5
Independent study hours
Independent study 170.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ian Burney Unit coordinator

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