The New York Academy of Medicine Section on the History of Medicine and Public Health is pleased to announce the third in its 2005-2006 series of public lectures, part of our mini-series "Medicine Before Modernity."
Michael McVaugh, Ph.D., UNC Chapel Hill, "'An Ailment Not to be Treated': The Rationality of Pre-Modern Surgery"
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Reception 5:30 PM, Lecture 6:00PM
New York Academy of Medicine-1216 Fifth Ave., New York City
Starting from a brief consideration of the Smith Papyrus, which has famously been called "rational" in its approach to surgery, Michael McVaugh will discuss what "rationality" might mean in pre modern surgery more generally, illustrating the discussion specifically with an account of the changing treatment of major head wounds (exposing the brain). The lecture will focus on European surgical developments in the thirteenth century, when surgeons themselves tried to understand what a "rational" surgery would be like. McVaugh will argue that their understanding did not necessarily coincide with our own. He will conclude by comparing thirteenth-century surgeons' attitudes with those expressed in the Smith papyrus and with those (still pre modern) of Richard Wiseman in the seventeenth century.
Michael McVaugh, William Smith Wells Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, studies the history of medicine and science from the Middle Ages to the late seventeenth century. Much of his published research concerns the growth of medical learning in the Middle Ages, and the medicalization of European life-a theme at the heart of his 1993 book, Medicine before the Plague: Doctors and Patients in the Crown of Aragon, 1285-1335 (Cambridge University Press). In the last few years he has turned his attention to medieval surgery and to its place in the world of medieval learning; he has recently edited the last great surgical treatise of the Middle Ages, the Inventarium or Chirurgia magna of Guy de Chauliac (Brill, 1997), and he is now at work on a general account of the development of medieval surgery.
Holes in the Head:
Come to the Academy Library before the lecture to view an exhibition complementing Professor McVaugh's lecture, and featuring books from the Academy's Rare Book collection. "Holes in the Head: Mending Head Injuries from Pericles to Bonaparte," is curated by Miriam Mandelbaum. This exhibition features capital examples of works from Renaissance editions of the Hippocratic corpus to the works of Dominique-Jean Larrey, Chief of the Medical Corps during Napoleon's Egyptian campaign in 1799.
Medicine Before Modernity
Today's rapidly-accelerating medical knowledge can distort our perspective, flattening our view of the dynamic and swiftly changing field of medicine even a century ago into some undifferentiated past, as remote and unrecognizable as a familiar landscape viewed from the wrong end of a telescope. This four-part lecture series turns the lens around, viewing the history of medicine from the vantage point of one of its foundational documents, the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, a transcription from around 1600BCE, of a much older document.
Tuesday, September 27
David Mininberg, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, "The Art of Medicine in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean"
Thursday, October 27
James Allen, Metropolitan Museum of Art, "The World of Ancient Egyptian Medicine"
Tuesday, November 29
Michael McVaugh, University of North Carolina, "'An Ailment Not to be Treated': The Rationality of Pre-Modern Surgery"
Wednesday, December 7
Monica Green, Arizona State University, "Gynecology and Surgery: Alliances of Knowledge and Practice in the Premodern Period"
ALL LECTURES AT 6 PM, RECEPTIONS AT 5:30 PM
These events are free and open to the public. CME credit is available. For more information about NYAM programs in the history of medicine, visit our website at http://www.nyam.org/initiatives/im-histe.shtml , write firstname.lastname@example.org , or call Christian Warren at 212.822.7314.
Earlier this year, the Academy's Rare Book Room was featured in the New York Times. To read a press release with a link to the article, visit http://www.nyam.org/news/2258.html .
Historical programs at NYAM are supported by the Friends of the Rare Book Room. Please join the Friends! Download a membership form at http://www.nyam.org/initiatives/docs/FRBR_Renewal.pdf .
THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF MEDICINE 1216 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY 10029
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