The Historiography of Medicine in America

Gert H. Brieger

Abstract


What is the state of medical historiography in America ? This discipline is now asking new questions, branching new directions and speaking to new audiences. The social and cultural contexts in which medicine moved and moves needs to be an effective integral part of approaching the historical studies. There is today, in USA, a new history of medicine more problem-oriented and interested in the culture of medicine and in the meaning of medicine to cultural history. This new interdisciplinary field of interest deals with the study of epidemics, seen as causative agents in historical developments and as means of studying changing ideas; it delas also  with the history of women, of their medical profesionalization and of their diseases. American medical history, over the last thirty years, has reconstructed the medical practices of the past by using clinical records; between other fields of reasearch, the history of psychiatry has become a particularly fertile field of scholarship, especially in its studies about hysteria and neuroasthenia; finally, medical anthropology and the history of ancient and medieval medicine, has flourished and contribute today in a high significant way to the critical reconstruction of a cultural past of medicine, quite far away from the mere biographical historiographical researches. 

 

Key words: Historiography of Medicine - U.S.A.


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