Call for applications for a Professorship Position “History of Medicine with particular consideration of Contemporary History of Medicine” at the Medical University of Vienna.

For more details, see here

Call for papers for a workshop on Global governance and Accountability in Post-World War II Health Care on 21 and 22 July 2019 at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

We invite proposals for a workshop on global governance and accountability, that is organized by a new network of scholars with support from the Descartes Center for the History and Philosophy of Science at Utrecht University. This network aims to bring critical, interdisciplinary perspectives to the recent history of global health, by getting together researchers from nations across the world who study the history of concepts and practices now closely associated with accountability in health care, and to ask them to think about the transnational movement of those practices among both developed and developing nations in an age of neo-colonialism and globalization.

The network was founded by:

  • Frank Huisman (Utrecht University)
  • Noortje Jacobs (Erasmus University Medical Center)
  • Nancy Tomes (Stonybrook University New York) and
  • Duncan Wilson (University of Manchester).

Other network members currently are:

  •  Anne-Emanuelle Birn (University of Toronto)
  • Simplice Ayangma Bonoho (University of Geneva)
  • Marcos Cueto (Fiocruz)
  • Emily Harrison (Harvard University)
  • Wen-Hua Kuo (National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan)
  • Projit Bihari Mukharji (University of Pennsylvania)
  • David Reubi (King’s College London)
  • Dora Vargha (University of Exeter)
  • Harry Yi-Jui Wu (University of Hong Kong)

Since 1945, new commitments to international cooperation have resulted in the establishment of bodies such as the World Health Organization and the World Medical Association to promote better health across the globe. By creating international networks of medical experts, policymakers, and relevant interest groups, “the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health” would come within reach. This development went hand in hand with changing concepts and practices of accountability in health care. Starting in the 1950s, doctors in many post-World War II nations began to experience growing demands to account for their actions, after they had enjoyed an unprecedented degree of respect and autonomy in the first half of the twentieth century. Such demands came in different domains of health care—including scientific research, clinical practice, and health care economics—and reflected different reasons, such as research exposés, new commitments to social citizenship, and rising costs. However, the net effect of these demands was that, by the end of the twentieth century, a “new style of professionalism” had emerged in health care, in which the performance of professionals had become regulated by all sorts of formalized procedures and protocols for communication and control.

These new demands for accountability, as well as the “accounting practices” that accompanied them, are often argued to have emerged first in the United States, Western Europe, and the British Commonwealth. Subsequently, with trade globalization in the 1970s and the fall of Communism in the 1980s, those discussions would have become ever more global, expanding to include the Global South and Eastern Europe. The mix of stakeholders involved and the timing of issues varied among nations, but the similarities were striking and the cross talk across national boundaries was intense.

That cross talk and its impact is what the newly established network Global Governance and Accountability in Post-World War II Health Care wants to examine. We will hold our first meeting on 21 and 22 July 2019 in the Netherlands. We invite scholars interested in thinking critically about the history of concepts and practices now closely associated with accountability in health care, and to explore the transnational movement of those practices among both developed and developing nations in recent history. Special attention will be given to the development and implementation of “control technologies” and “accounting practices” that were developed in this period to operationalize heightened demands for accountability in a globalizing world.

Conference February 7 and 8, 2019: "The 1918 influenza pandemic: Historical and biomedical reflections"


A unique conference on the 1918 influenza pandemic. Importantly, both historical and biomedical aspects of the disease were presented and discussed:

  • Where did this virus come from?
  • To which degree and in which ways were its genesis and its rapid transcontinental spread caused and/or facilitated by the war circumstances?
  • Which genetic features of the virus explain its unusually high pathogenicity?
  • How did medical and political authorities react?
  • Why were some age groups spared from this dreadful virus?
  • Is it possible to fathom the impact of the pandemic both on the everyday life of citizens and on general developments in science, culture and politics?
  • To which degree can a historical approach contribute to the understanding of current-day pandemics, and vice versa?

This 2 day conference in the historical town of Ieper (Ypres) in Belgium brought together historians, virologists and epidemiologists.

Abstract submissions were invited that highlighted historical, biomedical or both aspects of the 1918 influenza pandemic.


The organisers 

  • Marnix Beyen (co-chair), University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Xavier Saelens (co-chair), Ghent University and VIB, Ghent, Belgium
  • Peter Palese, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA
  • Anne Rasmussen, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
  • Kaat Wils, KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Marc Van Ranst, KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Dominiek Dendooven, In Flanders Fields Museum (leper) and University of Antwerp (Antwerp), Belgium

Symposium: Scientific contacts between Germany and Scandinavia during the Cold War

 28-30 March, 2019, The Mickeln house at the Heinrich-Heine-University, Duesseldorf, Germany (Alt-Himmelgeist 25, 40589 Düsseldorf)


Department for the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Germany:

  • Dr. Nils Hansson
  • Thorsten Halling
  • Prof. Heiner Fangerau

Department for History of Medicine, Lund University, Sweden:

  • Prof. Peter M Nilsson

During the 19th century and up to the first decades of the 20th, Scandinavian physicians and natural scientists were heavily influenced by German academia (Larsen 1996, Hösch et al 1999). German was the prime scientific language in Scandinavia (Reinbothe 2006, Prinz & Korhonen 2011), students and researchers went on study trips to Germany and published their research in German journals (Nilsson et al 2006, Brissman 2010). Although the exchange was encouraged from both sides of the Baltic Sea, it is fair to say that Swedish researchers had a stronger interest in German science than vice versa (what has come to be known as "Swedish provincialism". See Seiler Brylla & Wåghäll Nivre 2015). However, this relationship was to change rather abruptly with the Second World War, which triggered in a marked decrease in collaboration between the two systems. (Broberg & Roll-Hansen 2005).

A number of studies on Scandinavian-German scientific relations between 1933 and 1945 have been published in recent years (Almgren 2005, Björkman et al 2016), but the relationships after the war have not yet been systematically examined (Almgren 2013), particularly as regards the fields of medicine and the natural sciences. Case studies suggest that the "neutral" Sweden could act as a gateway to the West for researchers from the GDR as well as a German-German contact zone (Hansson et al. 2018). The conference will focus on the transfer of knowledge across the Baltic Sea and old and new personal relationships between researchers in Northern Europe, and not least on the political and technological aspects of the contacts. How did science exchange work during the Cold War? In addition to Scandinavia, comparisons with other "neutral" states are possible. Are there differences in the exchange between the Scandinavian countries and Austria or Switzerland? To what extent did these countries serve as a hub for German-German exchanges?

Key-note lecture

Dr. Charlotta Seiler Brylla, Universität Stockholm: „Deutschland ist bekanntlich nicht nur die Bundesrepublik“. Akademische Beziehungen zwischen Schweden und der DDR im Kalten Krieg

A variety of thematic and methodological contributions are welcome, for example with regards to:

  • Communication (including media / language, magazines, travel reports / biographies)
  • Resources (research funding, foundations, cultural organizations)
  • Knowledge transfer (including thought collectives, prevention strategies / operative medicine)
  • Reputation / Recognition (including honorary doctorates, honorary memberships, awards, citations, reviews)
  • Scientific communities (including partner organizations / university cooperation, student exchange, networks, generational change)
  • Objects (including medical technology, technology transfer)
  • Politics / Ideology (including neutrality, GDR / FRG)


Dr. Nils Hansson, Department for the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine
Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Duesseldorf

Read the full call for abstracts here.


2018 news

Hippocrates sans frontières - call for papers

Hippocrates sans frontières, an international conference on foreign physicians in Europe during the nineteenth century that took place in 15-16 November 2018 in Paris, France.

Contributions, as much as is possible,  fell within the following four areas of research:

  • studying medicine abroad: student itinerancy;
  • authorizing and supervising: foreign practitioners grappling with host country legislation;
  • treating in colonial lands;
  • practicing medicine on one’s compatriots: the medicine of the diaspora.

Studies focusing on countries other than France were particularly welcome. The board is open to approaches on the national level and over the longue durée, as well as more micro-historical research on the individual or collective careers of doctors. The gender of medical staff or of their patients could be a pertinent angle of approach. Finally, the primary geographical areas involved were Europe and its spaces of colonial expansion, however the migrations of Europeans across the Atlantic could be considered, as could the presence or the practice of non-European doctors in Europe. For more information, see: .

Calendar and practical information:

Paper proposals (title, summary of one page maximum, brief CV) should be sent in French, English, Italian, or Spanish to the organizers before February 15, 2018. They will be examined and evaluated by the advisory board. Proposers will be notified if their proposal is selected by February 28, 2018. The papers can be presented at the conference in French, English, Italian, or Spanish, and should be accompanied by a slide show in another language (French or English) for broader general understanding. They will last 30 minutes, including questions.

Paper proposals should be sent to the following address:



Global and transdisciplinary perspectives on sanitary cordons throughout history 

2nd International Conference of the Quarantine Studies Network

7-8 November 2018

Hosted by the University of the Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca

Abstracts can be submitted until 15 November 2017 to

Sanitary cordons to regulate and control the spread of bubonic plague were developed in Italy in the 14th century in parallel with maritime quarantine (mainly lazarettos) and came to be quickly imposed by other Mediterranean/European countries. Today, various types of cordons are still being used ‘to control the spread of epizootics and to mitigate the impact of both newly emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases upon the human population’ (Cliff, 2009) with the 21st-century pandemics of Ebola or avian flu showing their continued utility. At this juncture one finds a stunning paradox: despite their functions as instruments of isolation/separation, sanitary cordons came to be highly appreciated, legitimized and defended by state authorities and frequently by the populations themselves. By the 1800s, they had already been accepted and utilized in most countries of the world.

The success of sanitary cordons was also measured by their widespread adoption across various social and cultural domains. Thus, sanitary cordons became inseparable from military and political demarcations of territorial borders especially, but by no means exclusively, at the state level. Well-known cases include the cordon set-up against the plague in the Austrian-Ottoman border as from 1770; the so called ‘yellow fever cordon’ set up in the Catalan sector of the French-Spanish border in 1822; and the one established against cholera on the Ottoman-Persian frontier during the 1850s. The concept of the ‘common good’ via the preservation of public health was also used as an argument to legitimize, consolidate and militarize borders through the setting up of cordons. On the other hand, as sanitary cordons were set up to separate healthy sectors of a community – or indeed whole populations – from others considered sick, they were directly involved in processes of nation-building, international conflict or colonial domination. Sanitary cordons helped to define and ‘protect’ national identities and, at the same time, ‘isolate’ and control various provincial, national and colonial ‘others’. This was legitimized through old and new medical theories, scientific discourse or just pure prejudice or a combination of all these.

Sanitary cordons were also successfully ‘translated’ into the fields of politics and diplomacy, where the concept has been employed metaphorically to refer to attempts to prevent the spread of an ideology or another deemed dangerous to the international or the social order. For example, in 1917, the French minister of Foreign Affairs employed such a term to designate the new states (Finland, the Baltic republics, Poland and Romania) established along the Western border of the USSR (as buffer states) against the spread of the Bolshevist revolution into Central and Western Europe. Besides geography, politics and diplomacy, personal narratives of sanitary cordons became a sort of subgenre in modern literature, where they have also been used as metaphors to deal with issues of social control, identity/alterity or dystopic futures.

Incorporating all these perspectives and seeking papers with original research approaches, this conference wants to explore sanitary cordons throughout history to the present as they were put in place and employed in different parts of the globe and different social and cultural domains. Topics to be addressed could include, among others:

  • Origins and development of sanitary cordons for the prevention of epidemics throughout history to the present: concepts, practices, regulations, global expansion, unknown or understudied historical cases throughout the world.
  •  Patterns of sanitary cordons throughout history and in different regions/countries of the world.
  •  Sanitary cordons as border sites of negotiation and/or resistance.
  • Pre-modern and non-European forms of isolation/separation of diseased groups or communities from the rest in all their diversity (and cultural specificities).
  • Literary narratives recounting eye-witness accounts/experience of cordons or employing the metaphor ‘sanitary cordons’ on issues of identity and otherness, liminality, movement/migration, global inequality, and so on.
  •  Memorialization: sanitary cordons in the collective imaginaries, shared memories, material culture/heritage sites, lieux de mémoire.
  •   Sanitary cordons and the construction, and expansion, of early-modern/modern borders of states, provinces or any other territorial demarcations.
  •  Place of non-human creatures and organisms (animals, plants, substances) within cordons.
  •   Juridical, ethical, humanitarian and religious issues raised by the use of cordons in public health, war, political struggle, migration control, and human rights.
  •  Sanitary cordons and science: particularly the connections between contagionism and hygiene, as well as the part played by novel advances in medicine – bacteriology.
  • Relations with power: effective sanitary cordons and types of state projections of power (national sovereignty, central administrative state development, Imperial/colonial state power).
  • Connections between cordons and other forms of quarantine, isolation hospitals and the public health systems. Sanitary cordons and western medicalization of society: surveillance and disciplinary processes.  

Conference: The History, Uses, and Future of The Nobel Prize

It is our pleasure to bring to your attention the following international conference on October 4, 2018:

Download the full programme flyer 

2017 news

Call for papers: Health Histories: The Next Generation

Society for the Social History of Medicine Postgraduate Conference 2017
In cooperation with the University of Strathclyde and Shanghai University
Funded by the Wellcome Trust

Health Histories: The Next Generation
12-13 October 2017
Shanghai University, China

The Society for the Social History of Medicine periodically hosts an international conference for postgraduate students. The 2017 conference committee welcomes papers on any topic within the discipline of the social history of medicine and particularly encourage proposals for papers and panels that critically examine or challenge some aspect of the history of medicine and health. We welcome a range of methodological approaches, geographical regions, and time periods.

Proposals should be based on new research from postgraduate students currently registered in a University programme. Paper submissions should include a 250-word abstract, including five key words and a short (1-page) CV. Panel submissions should feature three papers (each with a 250-word abstract, including five key words, and a short CV), a chair, and a 100-word panel abstract.

For postgraduate students not currently funded through an existing fellowship or grant, funding is available to cover the costs associated with visas, travel, and accommodation in Shanghai. Upon confirmation of an accepted abstract, each postgraduate student is required to apply for a visa to travel to China.

All postgraduate delegates must register (or already be registered) as members of the Society for the Social History of Medicine.

More information about SSHM student membership

Submissions and queries should be sent to Caroline Marley:

Conference Organizers: 
Dr Stephen Mawdsley, University of Strathclyde
Professor Yong-an Zhang, Shanghai University

Abstract Deadline: 10 March 2017

2016 news

Call for papers: Ninth Day of Historical Demography, Diseases, Causes of Death and the Epidemiological Transition

This call invites paper proposals pertaining to this broad theme and welcomes contributions from historians, sociologists, demographers, epidemiologists, public health specialists etc. Preferably, paper proposals will be on the following topics: the epidemiological transitions in time and space; disease categorizations; case studies of diseases and epidemiological changes; mortality patterns for one specific cause of death or category of causes of death (e.g. tuberculosis, cholera, smallpox, malaria, coronary diseases, suicide, etc.); social, economic, cultural and/or political aspects of morbidity and cause-specific mortality differentiation; spatial analysis of morbidity and cause-specific mortality; health systems and policies in the past. Obviously, other topics may be suggested as well.

  • Paper proposals (in English) should be sent to no later than 31 May 2016. Notifications of acceptance of papers will be emailed during the month of June. For general inquiries:

Call for papers: Accounting for Health:Economic Practices and Medical Knowledge, 1500–1970

How has accounting historically shaped health and medicine? What variety of roles have other economic practices played in everyday medical knowing? And, as all accounting used to take place on paper, (how) have past material practices of collecting data, writing and information determined the ways in which medical and economic knowing could influence one another?

In 2016-2017, the ERC Research Group PAPERTECH will organise three workshops in Berlin to explore these and similar questions as part of the Working Group ‘Accounting for Health. Economic Practices and Medical Knowledge, 1500-1970’.

2014 news

A History of Quarantine Network

A History of Quarantine Network has been established by members of the EAHMH. Their new website can be found here:  

Their inaugural conference will be held in Nov. 2014 in Malta. Please visit their website for more information about their conference, 'The Mediterranean under quarantine'

Plans of the lazaretto of Varignano at La Spezia, c.1825 

2013 news

New Journal for Disaster Nursing

A new journal for disaster nursing has been launched and they have just issued their first call for papers; historians of medicine welcomed to contribute

Newsletter November 2013

The EAHMH’s Newsletter is fresh off the press. The inaugural issue contains a greeting from our new President and other information which should interest members.

EAHMH Conference 2013

The conference was held in Lisbon, Portugal, 4-7 September 2013. The conference was on the theme of 'Risk and Disaster in Health and Medicine' and was co-organised by the Universities of Evora and Lisbon.

The EAHMH 2013 Book Award

The EAHMH are delighted to announce the second winner of the EAHMH Book Award. The prize of €3000 (granted through the generous support of the Dutch Stichting Historia Medicinae and the German Robert Bosch Stiftung) was awarded to Alun Withey for his book Physick and the Family: Health, Medicine and Care in Wales, c.1600-1750, published by Manchester University Press. For further details on the prize, please View further details on the prize.

Alun Withey receiving his prize from EAHMH President, Laurinda Abreu

The Pieter van Foreest Student Prize

The Lisbon conference also marked the presentation of the second Pieter van Foreest Student Prize. A prize of 500 EUR (generously supported by the Dutch foundation Stichting Historia Medicinae) was awarded to the best paper presented by a PhD student at the conference. The winner of the 2013 Noortje Jacobs from the University of Maastricht for her paper, 'Rick as Moral Obligation'. The Scientific Board also commended two further papers of excellent quality by Michael Figueria de Sousa (University of Coimbra) and Nils Kessel (DHVS). For more information on the prize, click here.


Publication from an EAHMH Conference

An edited collection, drawing together some of the papers given at the 2007 EAHMH conference in London has recently been published. Environment, Health and History, edited by Virginia Berridge and Martin Gorsky of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, brings together a wide temporal range of historical analysis examining the relationship, sometimes distant, and sometimes close, between concerns about the environment and about health. Further information about the publication