Professor Jonathan Reinarz

Professor Jonathan Reinarz

Institute of Applied Health Research
Director, Social Studies in Medicine

Contact details

Social Studies in Medicine (SSiM)
Institute of Applied Health Research
Murray Learning Centre
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Jonathan Reinarz is the Director of The History of Medicine Unit. He is Professor of the History of Medicine.

Jonathan has published extensively on the history of hospitals and medical education, including a history of the Birmingham teaching hospitals (Boydell, 2009) and, with Graham Mooney (Johns Hopkins) a history of hospital and asylum visiting (2009). He has recently completed a history of smell (University of Illinois Press, 2014), and an edited collection on medical scandals (with Rebecca Wynter), entitled Complaints, Controversies and Grievances in Medicine (Routledge, 2015). He has also edited volumes on the history of workhouses (Rochester University Press, 2013), hospitals and communities (Peter Lang, 2013) and the medical history of skin (Pickering & Chatto, 2013).

Jonathan is writing a history of medical education in provincial England and editing a volume in the Bloomsbury ‘Cultural History of Medicine’ series. His numerous book reviews have appeared in Social History of Medicine, Medical History, Isis, American Historical Review, Social and Cultural History, Women’s History Review, History, Twentieth Century British History, French History, Journal of British Studies, London Journal, CentaurusSenses and Society, Museum & Society, Midland History, Journal for the Society of Army Historical Research, Canadian Journal of History and Social History of Alcohol Review. Since 2001, he has presented academic papers at more than 100 seminars and conferences nationally and internationally. Most of these have subsequently been developed into publications.


  • Professor of the History of Medicine
  • Graduated BA from University of British Columbia, Canada in 1992
  • MA (1994) and PhD (1999) University of Warwick


Jonathan Reinarz graduated in History and Languages from the University of British Columbia, Canada in 1992. He then completed an MA in Labour History at the University of Warwick before undertaking a PhD in Social History at Warwick with Dr Joan Lane, a noted historian of medicine. His thesis was on the history of science and technology in the midlands brewing industry between 1870 and 1914. While undertaking his doctoral research, he began to teach the history of medicine to undergraduates at Warwick.

On graduation in 1999, he was appointed Research Fellow in the newly-created Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Birmingham to research and write a history of the Birmingham teaching hospitals. Since then, the history of hospitals has been a significant theme in Jonathan’s research. In 2006, he was invited to join the Board of the International Network for the History of Hospitals.

In 2003, Jonathan was awarded a five-year Wellcome Trust University Award to research the history of English provincial medical schools between c.1825 and 1944. At the conclusion of this Fellowship in 2008, he was appointed Lecturer in the History of Medicine. During this period, he was an Executive Member of the Society for the Social History of Medicine. In 2009, he rose to Senior Lecturer in the History of Medicine, then to Reader in 2012 and Professor in 2014.

In January 2009, Jonathan was appointed Director of the History of Medicine Unit in Birmingham. Besides dealing with the Unit’s day-to-day teaching and administration, he continues to research the history of hospitals and medical education. In 2013, was elected Secretary to the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health, and joined their Scientific Board. He served on the Interview Committee of the Wellcome Trust’s Medical Humanities funding strand (2010-11) and, from 2008-2011, was External Examiner for undergraduate history of medicine teaching at Imperial College. He is an Editor for the Canadian Bulletin for the History of Medicine (Non-Canadian Content) and has also remained active in the history of alcohol, having been Reviews Editor for the journal Social History of Alcohol and Drugs (2006-8) and a member of the Editorial Committee of Brewery History since 2008.


Undergraduate (in Medical and Dental Sciences unless otherwise noted)

*Strand Lead for History of Medicine, Intercalated Medical Science BMedSc (PoSH)

*SP1 Introduction to the History of Medicine

*SP1 Under the Knife: The History of Surgery

*SP1 Skin and Bones: a History of Anatomy

*SP2 Plagues and Peoples: a history of epidemics

*Supervision of 3rd-year History dissertations (Arts and Law)

*Supervisor of 4th-year Electives

*Lecturer on Medicine and Surgery MBChB Graduate Entry Course Year 1

*Facilitator and Examiner for Year 1 Poster SSA

*Examiner 4th-Year Conference Posters

*Graduate Supervisor of PhD and MPhil students in History of Medicine

*Lecturer and Supervisor on MA in Birmingham and West Midland History (Arts and Law)

*Supervisor of MA students in History and Cultures (Arts and Law) Cultural Inquiry MA

*Lecturer on Occupational Health MSc/Diploma

*Lecturer on Masters in Public Health

*Lecturer on Sociology of Health and Illness (Social Sciences)

*Lecturer on MOMD Making Cultures: New Ways of Reading Things (Arts and Law)

*Lecturer on Birmingham Foundation Academy

*and I host a Research Taster Session (SSC) in the MBChB

* He currently supervises a number of graduate students researching the history of medical institutions, medical education and medical specialisation from the late eighteenth century to the twentieth century

Postgraduate supervision

Jonathan is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • The history of medical institutions, including hospitals, workhouses, dispensaries and medical schools since 1750
  • The history of health and illness in the English midlands
  • The history of patients’ experiences of health and illness over the last two centuries
  • Children’s health and illness, and institutional care since 1750
  • The history of the senses and particularly the cultural history of smell
  • The history of skin, especially burns
  • The history of alcohol since 1750 



history of hospitals, medical education, medical specialisation, paediatrics, alcohol, senses, skin, social and economic history of England 1750-1950


Jonathan’s areas of research include the history of hospitals, medical education and medical specialisation, including paediatrics and dermatology. He also continues to undertake research on the social and economic history of England 1750-1950, with a particular interest in the Midlands, the brewing industry, including labour, science and advertising in the drinks trades, as well as the history of technology, including refrigeration. He is author of a number of works on local and social history in the Midlands, including his first book, A History of Dorsington (1996).

Other activities

  • President, European Association of the History of Medicine and Health (EAHMH) 2017-2019
  • Secretary, European Association of the History of Medicine and Health (EAHMH) 2013-2017
  • Member of the EAHMH Scientific Board
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the International Network for the History of Hospitals
  • Editor (Non-Canadian Content) Canadian Bulletin for the History of Medicine
  • Editorial Board of Brewery History
  • Council; and Publishing Committee of the Dugdale Society
  • Executive Member of the Society for the Social History of Medicine (2000-8)
  • Reviews Editor of Social History of Alcohol and Drugs (2007-9)


Ten recent publications:

Past Scents: Historical Perspectives on Smell. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2014.

Complaints, Controversies and Grievances in Medicine: Historical and Sociel Science Perspectives. London: Routledge, forthcoming 2014. (with Dr R. Wynter).

'The Spirit of Medicine: The Use of Alcohol in Nineteenth-Century Medical Practice' in B. Schmidt-Haberkamp and S. Schmid (eds), Drink in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014. (with Dr R. Wynter).

Ed., Hospitals and Communities, 1100-1960. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013. (with Drs Teresa Huguet-Termes and Christopher Bonfield).

Ed., Medicine and the Workhouse. Rochester, NY: Rochester University Press, 2013. (with Dr Leonard Schwarz)

Ed. A Medical History of Skin: Scratching the Surface. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2013. (with Professor Kevin Siena, Trent)

'Introduction' and 'Learning to use their senses: visitors to voluntary hospitals in eighteenth-century England', Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies, 35, 4 (2012). (special issue on the senses in the eighteenth century edited with Dr Leonard Schwarz).

'Putting Medicine in Its Place: The Importance of Historical Geography to the History of Health Care' in E. Dyke and C. Fletcher (eds), Locating Health: Historical and Anthropological Investigations of Place and Health. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2010.

Healthcare in Birmingham: A History of the Birmingham Teaching Hospitals, 1779-1939. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, 2009

Ed., Permeable Walls: Historical Perspectives on Hospital and Asylum Visiting. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009. (with Prof. Graham Mooney).

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