Science and Technology Studies
2009 to 2010
Making British Medicine: Practice and Pedagogy in the Early Nineteenth Century
Abstract. From 1823 until his death in 1842, Charles Bell engaged in a priority dispute with François Magendie over the discovery that motor and sensory nerves are housed in separate roots. I use this dispute to open an examination of medical pedagogy and reform in Britain in the early 19th century, looking at the development of different audiences with the expansion of medical and scientific journals, at the significance of experiment and practice in medical education, and at the roles of national and professional politics that inflected practically every issue in the medical community. My dissertation focuses on a set of “conservative reformers” who have received little attention from historians. These reformers claimed to be restoring the virtues of a truly British medical education by creating more practical training for surgeons and physicians, offering joint training in medicine and surgery, and emphasizing the importance of ward-walking and clinical lectures in the hospital.