Historia Medica Lectures

Upcoming Lectures

Longevity for the World: Self and the Social Body in Early Modern China

Oct. 20, 2021
He Bian, PhD, Associate Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Princeton University

Our understanding of medical history in China also has been dominated by powerful men (and women) who sought self-perfection – or even immortality – through the art of medicine. In this talk, Bian highlights instead the rising prominence of the social body in printed medical texts since the 15th century, particularly the trope of “Longevity for the World” (shoushi).

Riots, Racism, and Urban Health Reform in the 1960s

Nov. 3, 2021
Merlin Chowkwanyun, PhD, Donald Gemson Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University

In the 1960s, racial uprisings across the United States put various elite institutions in American cities on the defensive. No longer could they ignore the suffering and anger of their most marginalized and ignored. Ritzy medical centers were no exception. This talk will explore the experience of South Central Los Angeles and the East Side of Cleveland during this era. It will consider implications for the present, a time of renewed attention to racial inequality and the civic responsibilities of medical centers to the neighborhoods that surround them.

Previous Lectures

Bernard Becker Medical Library, in collaboration with the Center for the History of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine, presents this lecture series on the history of medicine. Past speakers and their lectures are listed below.

Video Lecture
Link to video Susan L. Burns, PhD
79th Historia Medica Lecture
Cholera in Tokyo, 1877-1895: Public health, epidemic disease, and the cityscape
April 21, 2021
  Marquis Berrey, PhD
78th Historia Medica Lecture
“The Hidden History of Medical Risk: Examples from Premodern Surgery”
March 25, 2021
  James L. Nolan, Jr., PhD
77th Historia Medica Lecture
“Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age”
February 24, 2021
Link to video Suzanne Karr Schmidt
76th Historia Medica Lecture
“Plagues, Practitioners and Prints: Visualizing Pre-Modern Medical Know-How”
November 18, 2020
Link to video Cristin Kearns, DDS, MBA
75th Historia Medica Lecture
“Parallels Between the Sugar and Tobacco Industries: A First Glimpse at Sugar Industry Documents”
October 27, 2020
Link to video Bess Brander, MA, MLIS
74th Historia Medica Lecture
“Maesters, Greyscale, and Milk of the Poppy: Medicine in ‘Game of Thrones’”
February 19, 2020
  Candace O’Connor, MA
73rd Historia Medica Lecture
“Climbing the Ladder, Chasing the Dream: The History of Homer G. Phillips Hospital”
January 22, 2020
  Christina Ramos, PhD
72nd Historia Medica Lecture
“The Inquisitor’s Laboratory: Madness, the Insanity, and the New World’s First Mental Hospital”
November 13, 2019
  Anita Guerrini, PhD
71st Historia Medica Lecture
“The Courtiers’ Anatomists: Animals and Humans in Louis XIV’s Paris”
October 16, 2019
  William Powderly, MD
70th Historia Medica Lecture
“Are Infectious Diseases Confined to History?”
April 25, 2019
  Gregory Storch, MD
69th Historia Medica Lecture
“Why are Vaccines so Controversial?”
March 14, 2019
  Shanti Parikh, PhD, Rachel Presti, MD, PhD, and Bradley Stoner, MD, PhD
68th Historia Medica Lecture
“STDs Across Time and Space: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives”
February 28, 2019
  Stephen A. Logsdon, MA, MLIS
67th Historia Medica Lecture
“A Benevolent Purpose: Celebrating 140 Years of St. Louis Children’s Hospital”
January 31, 2019
  Christopher Alan Gordon, MA
66th Historia Medica Lecture
“Avoid Crowds as Much as Possible: Stories from the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic in St. Louis”
January 17, 2019
  Nukhet Varlik, PhD
65th Historia Medica Lecture
“Five Hundred Years of Plague in Ottoman History: Rethinking the Second Pandemic”
November 8, 2018
  Nancy Bristow, PhD
64th Historia Medica Lecture
“I thought my eyes would never see such horror: Health Care Providers and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918”
October 11, 2018
  Jonathan Sawday, PhD
63rd Historia Medica Lecture
“Easing the Distressed Mind: Robert Burton and the Anatomy of Melancholy”
April 5, 2018
  Corinna Treitel, PhD
62nd Historia Medica Lecture
“Nature and the Nazi Diet”
March 8, 2018
  Philip Skroska, MLitt, CA
61st Historia Medica Lecture
“And We Won’t Come Back Till It’s Over, Over There”
February 22, 2018
  Lewis Chase
60th Historia Medica Lecture
“Fuller Albright: Pioneer in the Field of Endocrinology”
January 18, 2018
  William Owens, MD
59th Historia Medica Lecture
“History of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes Hospital, 1910-1992”
November 9, 2017
  David J. Morris, MA, MFA
58th Historia Medica Lecture
“What We Talk About When We Talk About PTSD”
October 4, 2017
  Richard Brasington, MD
57th Historia Medica Lecture
“A Brief History of Informed Consent in the United States”
March 16, 2017
  Elisabeth Brander, MA, MLS
56th Historia Medica Lecture
“Books and Bodies: 500 Years of Printing Medical Texts”
February 16, 2017
  Stephen Lefrak, MD
55th Historia Medical Lecture
“The Living Heritage of John Locke and his Colleagues: From the Enlightenment through Tomorrow”
January 12, 2017
  William G. Powderly, MD
54th Historia Medica Lecture
“How Infection Shaped America: Lessons from Irish Famine”
November 10, 2016
  Paola Bertucci, DPhil and Stanley Finger, PhD
53rd Historia Medica Lecture
“Frankenstein, the Vital Force, and Electricity”
October 6, 2016
  Mark J. Mannis, MD FACS
52nd Historia Medica/6th Annual Bohigian Lectureship
“Shakespeare’s Eye: A Study of the Eye in Disease and Metaphor in the Works of William Shakespeare”
September 28, 2016
  L. Lewis, Wall, MD, DPhil
51st Historia Medica Lecture
“Goat Gland Messiah: The Bizarre Rise and Spectacular Fall of Dr. John R. Brinkley”
April 21, 2016
  Alisha Rankin, PhD
50th Historia Medica Lecture
“Poison Trials: Testing Antidotes in Early Modern Europe”
March 10, 2016
  Marc R. Moon, MD
49th Historia Medica Lecture
“History of Thoracic Surgery at Washington University”
January 21, 2016
  Luis Alejandro Salas
48th Historia Medica Lecture
“The Licensing Function of Galenic Anatomical Procedures, Text, and Practice”
November 12, 2015
  Candace O’Connor
47th Historia Medica lecture
“Harriet, Hirrel, Jessie and a Few Surprises: Earliest Women at Washington University School of Medicine”
October 22, 2015
  Ira J. Kodner, MD
46th Historia Medica Lecture
“Medical Ethics and Frankenstein’s Monster”
September 17, 2015
  Antonella Rastelli, M.D.
45th Historia Medica Lecture
“Heart to Heart: The Life and Letters of Dr. Giancarlo Rastelli, Pioneer of Cardiothoracic Surgery”
March 26, 2015
  Will Ross, M.D.
44th Historia Medica Lecture
“Urban Health and the History of Public Hospitals in the US”
March 12, 2015
  Stanley Misler, MD, PhD
43rd Historia Medica Lecture
“The Isolated Pancreatic Islet as a Micro-Organ and its Transplantation to Cure Diabetes: Celebrating the Legacy of Paul Lacy”
February 19, 2015
  Susan E. Mackinnon, M.D.
42nd Historia Medica Lecture
“Nerve Transfers: A 19th Century Idea Revolutionizes 21st Century Care of Nerve Injury”
December 4, 2014
  Kenneth M. Ludmerer, M.D.
41st Historia Medica Lecture
“Residency Training in the United States: Past, Present, Future”
November 13, 2014
  Michael Marmor, MD
40th Historia Medica Lecture
“Vision and History: Looking Through an Artist’s Eyes”
October 1, 2014
  Garland “Gar” Allen, Ph.D.
39th Historia Medica Lecture
“Biology of Elimination:  Eugenics and the Consequences of Genocentrism, 1900-1945”
September 11, 2014
  Robert M. Feibel, M.D.
38th Historia Medica Lecture
“Paul A. Cibis, M.D.: A St. Louis Pioneer of Modern Vitreoretinal Surgery”
April 10, 2014
  Holly Tucker, Ph.D.
37th Historia Medica Lecture
“Early Blood Transfusion: Science, Society and Lessons from the Past for the Medical Future”
March 27, 2014
  Sara van den Berg, Ph.D.
36th Historia Medica Lecture
“Cultural Meanings of the Dwarf Body”
February 27, 2014
  Todd L. Savitt, Ph.D.
35th Historia Medica Lecture
“Race, Medicine, Authorship and the ‘Discovery’ of Sickle Cell Disease, 1910-1911”
January 9, 2014
  Robert C. Kolodny, M.D.
34th Historia Medica Lecture
“Unraveling the Mysteries of Human Sexuality: The Masters and Johnson Story”
November 21, 2013
  Anne Stiles, Ph.D.
33rd Historia Medica Lecture
“Bram Stroker’s Brother, the Brain Surgeon”
October 16, 2013
  James G. Ravin, M.D.
32nd Historia Medica Lecture / Bohigian Lectureship for the History of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
“Eye Diseases of Famous Artists”
October 9, 2013
  Alan J. McComas, M.D.
31st Historia Medica Lecture / William M. Landau Lectureship
“Insights and Impulse”
September 26, 2013
  Mark Frisse, M.D., M.B.A, M.Sc.
30th Historia Medica Lecture
“Biomedical Information: Past, Present and Future”
April 18, 2013
  Joseph K. Hanaway, M.D
29th Historia Medica Lecture
“McGill Medicine: 1829-1996”
April 11, 2013
  Ken Winn, Ph.D.
28th Historia Medica Lecture
“A Cynic Admires an Eccentric: Mark Twain and Washington University’s Dr. Joseph McDowell”
March 7, 2013
  Adrianne Noe, Ph.D.
27th Historia Medica Lecture
“The National Museum of Health and Medicine: a Lecture in Commemoration of its 150th Anniversary”
January 31, 2013
  Marion Hunt, Ph.D.
26th Historia Medica Lecture
“An Ever-Widening Sphere: Dr. Martha Eliot’s Career”
December 6, 2012
  Thomas Danisi
25th Historia Medica Lecture
“A New Perspective on the Death of Meriwether Lewis”
November 15, 2012
  Robert Feibel, M.D.
24th Historia Medica Lecture
“Simon Pollak and Ophthalmology In St. Louis during the Civil War”
April 12, 2012
  Robert L. Grubb, Jr., M.D.
23rd Historia Medica Lecture
“Developing Academic Neurosurgery Leadership: The Legacy of Ernest Sachs and Henry Schwartz”
February 23, 2012
  Eva Mozes Kor
22nd Historia Medica Lecture
“The Lessons I Learned in Mengele’s Lab”
September 8, 2011
  Memory Elvin-Lewis, Ph.D.
21st Historia Medica Lecture
“AIDS before AIDS in St. Louis – If the Shoe Fits: A retrospective discovery”
March 31, 2011
  Jerry Cox, Ph.D.
20th Historia Medica Lecture
“Small Computers in Biomedical Science: the developers and their machines, ancestors and progeny”
January 20, 2011
  Candace O’Connor
19th Historia Medica Lecture
“Transforming Medical Education: Pritchett, Flexner, and Brookings”
November 1, 2010
  Amy Eisen Cislo, Ph.D.
18th Historia Medica Lecture
“Diagnosing Sex: The Theories and Contributions of Paracelsus (1493-1541) to Pharmacological Medicine”
April 15, 2010
  Ellen S. More, Ph.D.
17th Historia Medica Lecture
“Political Change, Personal Stories: 1849–2009 (Changing the Face of Medicine)”
August 13, 2009
  Angela N. H. Creager, Ph.D.
16th Historia Medica Lecture
“Atoms for Peace and Health: The Consequences of the Manhattan Project for Biology and Medicine”
June 8, 2009
  Barbara Baumgartner, Ph.D.
15th Historia Medica Lecture
“Anatomy Lessons: Reading the Body in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry”
November 20, 2008
  Caroline Hillard
14th Historia Medica Lecture
“Realdo Colombo and Michelangelo: Anatomy Lessons from Renaissance Rome”
April 17, 2008
  Rebecca Messbarger, Ph.D.
13th Historia Medica Lecture
“Theatrum Corporis: Pope Benedict XIV’s Wax Musuem of Human Anatomy”
November 15, 2007
  Thomas A. Woolsey, M.D.
12th Historia Medica Lecture
“Seeing Ideas: Insight from Interplay Between Artists, Physicians & Scientists”
April 19, 2007
  Lewis L. Wall, M.D., Ph.D.
11th Historia Medica Lecture
“Did J. Marion Sims Deliberately Addict His First Fistula Patients to Opium?”
November 15, 2006
  Marjorie Lorch, PhD
10th Historia Medica Lecture
“Eighteenth Century Perspectives on Language, Mind and Brain from the Writings of Jonathan Swift”
April 3, 2006
  Michael A. Flannery
9th Historia Medica Lecture
“Civil War Pharmacy”
November 3, 2005
  Stanley Finger, Ph.D.
8th Historia Medica Lecture
“Benjamin Franklin: Pioneer of Medical Electricity”
April 21, 2005
  Robert Frank, Jr., Ph.D.
7th Historia Medica Lecture
“Nobelists and the Neurosciences at Washington University, 1918-1944”
November 11, 2004
  Conevery Bolton Valencius, Ph.D.
6th Historia Medica Lecture
“Bad Airs, Good Waters, and Healthy Places: Health and Environment in the Nineteenth Century West”
March 23, 2004
  James Whorton, Ph.D.
5th Historia Medica Lecture
“From Cultism to CAM: The Rise of Alternative Medicine”
October 23, 2003
  Walton O. Schalick III, M.D., Ph.D.
4th Historia Medica Lecture
“Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones: Opiates, Pain, and Professional Medicine in the Middle Ages”
April 17, 2003
  Shelley McKellar, Ph.D.
3rd Historia Medica Lecture
“Artificial Hearts: Technology and Organ Replacement in Twentieth Century Medicine”
October 10, 2002
  Kenneth Ludmerer, M.D., Ph.D.
2nd Historia Medica Lecture
“The American Medical Student: a History”
March 7, 2002
  Jonathon Erlen, Ph.D.
1st Historia Medica Lecture
“Human Experimentation in Twentieth Century American Medicine”
October 24, 2001