HIST429-22S2 (C) Semester Two 2022

From Leeches to Liposuction: A Social History of Medicine

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 18 July 2022
End Date: Sunday, 13 November 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 31 July 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 2 October 2022


An introduction to the flourishing sub-disciplines of social history of medicine and health history.

This seminar course focuses on issues of bioethics, race, disability and sexuality as they contribute to debates in the social history of medicine. The course draws on examples from medieval Europe, New Zealand, the Middle East, South Asia, America and China to explore current issues raised in the historiography of the social history of medicine.

Topics for discussion currently include the encounter between colonial and traditional medical systems, the contribution of health and medical ideas to concepts of race, military medicine, particularly the sexual health of the army, regulation of fertility, state involvement in childbirth and women’s health and the history of the patient. We look at uses and abuses of medical power in the modern western world through seminars exploring Nazi experiments on Jewish people, the dehumanisation of people affected by disability and mental health issues and the medicalisation of gender diversity.

The course is flexible and students are welcome to suggest seminar topics and readings for the class to discuss.

Learning Outcomes

  • The overall aim of the course it to provide students with an introduction to some of the key issues in the sub-discipline of the social history of medicine and to develop skills needed for further historical study and for transfer into the work environment.
    On successful completion of the course students will be able to
  • Understand themes in the social history of medicine
  • Explain relationships between ideas of health, medicine and disease and historical context.
  • Analyse and discuss as individuals and in groups primary sources and historiographical material.
  • Demonstrate historical insights into the social history of medicine in both written and oral form.

    This honours course supports the development of a range of academic and transferable skills as detailed below:

    Generic/Transferable Skills
  • Ability to analyse complex material from a variety of sources and to communicate the results verbally and in written form.
  • Ability to both follow instruction and to work independently
  • Ability to engage appropriately with a range of people in small group discussion
  • Ability to work in a team
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.



Timetable 2022

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Workshop A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 12:00 - 14:00 Jane Soons 603
18 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct
Workshop B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 12:00 - 14:00 Meremere 409
18 Jul - 28 Aug
12 Sep - 23 Oct

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Jane Buckingham


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
History Seminar Reading Exercise 10%
Essay 1 35% 2500 words
Essay 2 35% 2500 words
Team Debate 10% Assessment based on 5% team grade and 5% individual grade
Seminar Presentations 10% Two presentations (5% each)

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,937.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts .

All HIST429 Occurrences

  • HIST429-22S2 (C) Semester Two 2022