‘Imperial and empirical: crafting medicine in the 19th century’

hsmt seminars hilary term 2020 for website

Martin Robert (University of Oxford)

How did the medical profession become so present in our lives? The answer to this question lies partly in the medical schools established during the 19th century in colonies of European empires. From Canada to India, a defining feature of the medical training that they offered was that it centered on human dissection. This imperial context and this empirical content of what would establish itself as orthodox medical education in the colonies played a major role in the institution of a globalized professional medicine from the 19th century. In support of this idea, this talk will first cover the institution of medical education in Canada, emphasizing the role of human dissection in the understanding of medical competence within its first medical schools. It will then take into account the history of medical schools established in British India at the turn of the 19th century to emphasize the role of empires as a shaping force in contemporary medical history.


The following seminar will be held online with Zoom. For more information please visit: https://www.hsmt.ox.ac.uk/event/imperial-and-empirical-crafting-medicine-19th-century


The History of Science, Medicine and Technology Seminar is convened by Erica Charters (Wolfson College), Rob Iliffe Linacre College), Catherine Jackson (Harris Manchester College), Rob Bailey (University of Oxford) and John Lidwell Durnin (Linacre College)