Concepts of Illness and Healing

Discipline: Public Health
Instructor: Powers
Credits: 3
Day: null
Start: 09:25
End: 10:40
Field Work: Day 1 | Italy Download Syllabus

This course will offer an in depth study of the history and evolution of human ideas regarding the origins of illness and methods of dealing with human suffering. Concepts of medicine and healing in Western Europe, Classical Greece and Rome will be explored, along with Egyptian, and Islamic-influenced traditions. The transition of these ideas into early and medieval European theory and practice will be followed, with links to the modern scientific approach. The origins and evolution of Eastern Mediterranean and North African traditions will be examined as well. The class will include a look at the roles of folklore, religion, and concepts of the natural world as they relate to disease and illness. On shore opportunities will include visits to pertinent historical sites, archives, and museums.

Field Work

Country: Italy
Day: 1

The Museum of the History of Medicine was founded in 1938 by Adalberto Pazzini. It contains an impressively rich collection of historical-medical exhibits – many of them original - which can help trace developments in medical knowledge from prehistoric times up to genomic medicine. The Museum, specially designed to offer a clearly presented learning experience, features video displays and interactive multi-media which allow visitors to gain a deeper knowledge of key themes in medical history, of biomedicine and the relationship between biomedical science and society, offering an integrated perspective on the evolution of medical knowledge and technological developments with philosophical, ethical and social issues. The path through the Museum is laid out over three floors. The basement display offers reconstructed settings of a spicery and an alchemist’s workshop. On the first floor, exhibits testify to the evolution of medicine from prehistory to the 17th century, with examples of medicine in the ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean and the Middle Ages. The second floor traces developments from the first steps of experimental medicine to the recent challenges of biomedicine, genomic medicine and their relative technological applications.