550.605.01 History of Public Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health MPH Program
This course is chiefly concerned with how the relationship between populations, or specific groups of them, and their environment is mediated by the state, be that state a local, regional or national one. The course examines the experience of health and illness from a population perspective. It seeks to reveal how the organization of societies facilitates or mitigates the production and transmission of disease; and it asks how do populations and groups of individuals go about securing their health? The unifying theme of the course is the medical management of space in one form or another: the public space of the environment; institutional spaces such as schools and workplaces; the domestic sphere; and personal/individual body space. The progression of the weekly classes reflects this, working ‘inwards’ from the environment to individuals, examining how a range of issues such as political power, ideology, social control and popular resistance shaped and determined the historical development of public health.
The course provides an historical interpretation of how the theory and practice of public health today has come to be what it is. A thematic rather than chronological structure is adopted so that comparisons can be made through the centuries and between different parts of the globe, although emphasis will be placed on the modern era, i.e. post-1750. You will be encouraged to consider the alternative routes that public health ideology and practice might have taken at certain times and in particular places. In so doing, it is hoped that you will be able to question more analytically your ideas and beliefs about the nature of the public health that you practice today.
Week 1 Introduction: another ‘new’ public health?
Week 2 Quarantine!
Week 3 The Sanitary Idea
Week 4 Surveillance at work
Week 5 Infectious disease in the school
Week 6 Public health in the home
Week 7 Body spaces: from inoculation to immunization
Week 8 Conclusion: professionalization and expertise
Assessment and reading
The classes involve a mix of lectures, analysis of textual and visual documents in small groups, and verbal contributions from students. There will be a take home examination handed out in Week 5. We will go through the details of this and the submission date in class.
Specific readings for each class are posted on the Electronic Reserves website. The following books provide general background.
David Arnold. 1993. Colonizing the body. State medicine and epidemic disease in nineteenth century India. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press.
Frederick F. Cartwright. 1977. A social history of medicine. London and New York: Longman.
Mark Harrison. 1994. Public health in British India: Anglo-Indian preventive medicine, 1859-1914. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
J. N. Hays. 2000. The burdens of disease: epidemics and human response in Western history. New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press.
Deborah Lupton. 1995. The imperative of health. Public health and the regulated body. London: Sage.
Milton J. Lewis. 2003. The people's health: public health in Australia, 1788-1950. Westport, Conn. and London: Praeger.
Leonore Manderson. 1996. Sickness and the state. Health and illness in colonial Malaya, 1870-1940. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press.
William H. McNeill. 1977. Plagues and peoples. New York: Doubleday.
Alan Petersen and Deborah Lupton. 1996. The new public health: health and self in the age of risk. London: Sage.
Dorothy Porter (ed.). 1994. The history of public health and the modern state. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Dorothy Porter. 1999. Health, civilization, and the state: a history of public health from ancient to modern times. London: Routledge.
George Rosen. 1993 (expanded edn.). A history of public health. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Sheldon Watts. 1997. Epidemics and history. Disease, power and imperialism. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.