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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Postgraduate Course: Material Culture of Health and Healing in Pre-Modern Europe (HIAR11101)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines objects and spaces associated with healing practices in medieval and early modern Europe, particularly through the practices of surgeons, barbers, apothecaries, and physicians and the related visual culture. We will think about the relationships between the body, class.
Course description In this course we will study the objects and spaces associated with healing practices in medieval and early modern Europe. Through close analysis to objects owned by surgeons, barbers, apothecaries, and physicians, as well as the guild and organisational structures they belonged to, we will examine these objects' role as agents in the creation of social status. By studying anatomical depictions, anatomical figurines, and tools used on the body, we will elucidate the relationships between bodies, social class, and medieval and early modern medical theories (Humoralism, Paracalscian iatrochemistry) and practices.

Outline course content
1. Introduction: Health and Healing, Bodies and Medical Spaces
2. Books and Matulas: Theoretical and Scholarly Medicine
3. Lancets, Razors, and Bowls: Surgery and Barbery
4. Jars, Pill Tiles, and Crocodiles: Apothecaries Shops
5. Childbirth and Delivery: Midwives and Man-midwives
6. Churches and Shrines: Religious medical practices
7. Charms and Amulets: Natural, Supernatural and Preternatural
8. Public Health and Healing
9. Dissection and the Discovery of the Body Interior
10. Visits to Edinburgh University Anatomical Museum, University of Glasgow Special Collections or National Library (to view medieval and early modern medical books)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, External Visit Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 168 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 4000 word essay, weighted 100%
Feedback Feedback will be given verbally on class presentations, and students will submit one piece of formative assessment that will receive written feedback.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate comprehensive understanding of medieval and early modern theories/ideas of the body and medicine;
  2. critically engage with material culture and the relationship between objects and artefacts as agents revealing of status, authority and social position of medical practice and practitioners;
  3. through critical engagement with primary sources, evaluate the relationships between medical practitioners, craftsmen, artists, and patients as mediated by objects and rendered in works of art
  4. apply material culture theory to medical and scientific objects;
  5. work independently and with peers to analyse problems and to present research.
Reading List
Drake, T.G., 'Antiques of Interest to the Apothecary' Journal of the History of Medicine and the Allied Sciences 15 (1960): 31- 44.
Drey, Rudolph A. E., Apothecary Jars: Pharmaceutical Pottery and Porcelain in Europe and the East (London, Boston: Faber & Faber, 1978).
Decamp, Eleanor, Civic and Medical Worlds in Early Modern England: Performing Barbery and Surgery (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
Maerker, Anna, 'Within one's grasp: anatomical displays from cabinet of curiosities to shop window, Historical Social Research (2015): 284- 300.
Parker, Patricia, 'Barbers and Barbary: Early Modern Cultural Semantics' Renaissance Drama 33 (2004): 201-244.
Wallis, Patrick, 'Consumption, Retailing, and Medicine in Early Modern London' Economic History Review 61 (2008): 26-53.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students completing the course will have:

skills in the critical analysis of concepts, material objects and images
the ability to communicate effectively to peers on complex historical problems
the ability to use IT in producing presentational material
be able to work effectively as part of a team and autonomously

Keywordshealing,early modern Europe,health
Course organiserProf Neil Cox
Tel: (0131 6)50 2313
Course secretaryMiss Remi Jankeviciute
Tel: (0131 6)51 5773
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