History of medicine has often been taught focusing on the scientific innovations and debates surrounding theories of the body and methods of healing. This course will focus instead on the therapeutic relationship between physician/surgeon and patient, at a time of major socio-economic change, political turmoil and advent of the clinical gaze in medicine. After a first phase of contextualization, the course will be organized in thematic subsections, in which text pertaining to these questions as well as some historical sources will be read and discussed. The course will look at the economic dimension of medicine and the impact it has on patients’ agency in the therapeutic relationship in a context of competition between surgeons, physicians and other health practitioners. It will also focus on the question of pain management and the sensory experience of surgery before the advent of anesthesia. Finally, there will be a focus on doctor/patient relationship in institutional contexts such as hospitals and prisons, with a deeper look at the case of military surgery. The colonial context, while not at the heart of this course, would also be included. The question of power dynamics between physician and patients, including questions of in particular of class, race and gender will be present throughout.

Semester: SoSe 2022