Posted by: Bethan Jenkins | 04/01/2014

Opening hours w/b 6/1/14

Happy New Year!

This week we wil be open Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th, 2.15-5pm only, as I am away at a conference for the second half of the week.

More normal opening hours will begin again next week. Please get in touch if you need to plan your visit!

Posted by: Bethan Jenkins | 13/12/2013

Opening hours w/b 16/12/13 and Christmas Closure

This week sees our last few days before we close for Christmas. We will be open:

Monday-Wednesday, 16th-18th December, 2.15-5pm.

At that point, we will close for the Vacation, opening again Monday, 6th and Tuesday 7th January only that week.

Wishing all of our Readers – at the library and on the blog – a happy and peaceful vacation!

Christmas card, c. 1931-35.

Christmas card, c. 1931-35.

Posted by: Bethan Jenkins | 06/12/2013

Opening Hours w/b 09/12/13

Different hours again this week…

Monday: 2.15-3.30pm

Tuesday and Wednesday: 2.15-5pm

Thursday: 2.15-4.30pm

Friday: 9.00am-12.00pm Please note we are open in the morning on Friday!

Have a peaceful weekend!

Posted by: Bethan Jenkins | 02/12/2013

Conrad Keating – talk rescheduled

Conrad Keating’s talk to accompany the new Bodleian Libraries Exhibition, Great Medical Discoveries – 800 Years of Oxford Innovation, due to talk place this afternoon at the RSL will now take place on Thursday 5th December at 2pm. It will be held at the Training Room of the Radcliffe Science Library.

Though booking is not necessary, you will need a University card to enter the building. For any queries, please contact Juliet Ralph

Posted by: Bethan Jenkins | 29/11/2013

Opening Hours w/b 02/12/13

Next week, our opening hours will be as follows:

Monday-Wednesday, 2.15-5pm

Thursday, 2.15-4.30pm

Friday – we will be closed on Friday, as it is the annual Unit Christmas Lunch.

Please get in touch if you intend to visit.

Have a good weekend!

Posted by: Bethan Jenkins | 29/11/2013

Wellcome Unit Seminars, 02/12/13

The last seminar of the term…

Coffee is available from 2.00pm – Seminars begin at 2.15pm prompt

‘Structures of Medical Knowledge’
Conveners: Drs Erica Charters and Elise Smith

Week 8 – 2 December
Vanessa Grotti, University of Oxford
Sociality and Healing within the Medical Missions among the Trio of Suriname and Brazil
Based on historical documents and ethnographic data such as autobiographical narratives, this paper retraces the history of the establishment of two medical missions among an Amazonian people, the Trio, who live straddled across the Suriname-Brazil border. I will compare and contrast the early history of the two missions, which were run respectively by Franciscan brothers in Brazil and by North-American Protestants in Suriname, and analyse the forms of social relations that Amerindians and missionaries developed and nurtured in and around the health post.

Vanessa Grotti is a social and medical anthropologist with field experience in South America and interested in the history of contact, sedentarisation and change among native Amazonian populations, with a special focus on the body, personhood and wellbeing. She has been working with Central Carib populations living in Suriname, French Guiana and Brazil for over a decade, and has published on a range of topics covering shamanism, conversion to Christianity, trade and objects, primary healthcare, extractive industries and human security.

Her current project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is a comparative history of Protestant and Catholic medical missions among the Trio (Tiriyó) in Suriname and Brazil (1959-1994). The principal aim of this project is to reconstruct the histories of two primary healthcare systems in Amazonia by comparing their activities among a single transnational indigenous group. Among the Trio, whose territory straddles the border between Suriname and Brazil, health posts were established independently in each country from 1959 by Catholic and Protestant missionary organizations. Both systems were later secularized and incorporated or taken over by the State. The impact of this research will be to provide insight into different approaches to primary healthcare in Amazonia, where both missionary and secular agencies continue to contact isolated peoples.

She also manages a John Fell OUP Research Grant (2011-2014) on ‘Giving birth in an Amazonian gold rush: a survey of indigenous motherhood and healthcare practices surrounding pregnancy and birth among the Wayana (French Guiana and Suriname)’. This smaller project is a survey of the experience of childbirth among indigenous Wayana mothers on the headwaters of the Maroni River, which forms the border between French Guiana and Suriname. Its purpose is to document the native point of view on the design and provision of antenatal and neonatal care, and the ways in which biomedical healthcare practitioners interact and communicate with indigenous expecting mothers, in both village and hospital environments.


Posted by: Bethan Jenkins | 22/11/2013

Opening hours, w/b 25/11/13

A quieter week this week, so we are open every afternoon!

Monday-Wednesday, 2.15-5pm; Thursday, 2.15-4.30pm; Friday, 2.15-5pm.

Please get in touch if you intend to visit.

Have a happy weekend!

Posted by: Bethan Jenkins | 22/11/2013

Wellcome Unit Seminars, Monday 25/11/13

‘Structures of Medical Knowledge’
Conveners: Drs Erica Charters and Elise Smith

Week 7 – 25th November

Sophie Vasset, Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7

Queen Anne’s Seventeen Pregnancies and her Treatment for Barrenness

Sophie Vasset studied at the University of Orleans, and the research institute Anglophones Charles V – Paris 7 in double degree with the Russian (INALCO). She began her thesis under the direction of Frederick Ogée on medicine and fiction in Britain in the eighteenth century at the University of Marne-la-Vallée. She received a Fulbright scholarship to Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Lavoisier scholarship to Oxford French House.

At the University Paris-Diderot, she studies eighteenth-century British medicine and literature. She is currently working on narrative and health, medical polemics, and on the cultural history of infertility.

More specific areas of interest include: inoculation, pain, health and prevention, blood-letting, madness and eighteenth-century illness narratives (gout, stone, smallpox, syphilis, hypochondria, hysteria).

She is a member of the research project on early modern controversies, AGON, and of the board of administration of the French Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (SFEDS).

Selected Publications:

  • Décrire, prescrire, guérir: médecine et fiction dans la Grande Bretagne du XVIIIe siècle, Collection de la République des Lettres, Montréal, QC, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2011. This book won the SAES/AFEA prize 2012.
  • The Physics of Language in Roderick Random, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2009.
  • Medicine and Narration in the 18th century, SVEC 04: 2013, Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 2013.
Queen Anne and William, Duke of Gloucester by studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller

Queen Anne and William, Duke of Gloucester by studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller



Posted by: Bethan Jenkins | 21/11/2013

McGovern Lecture, TODAY 21/11/13

Green Templeton’s annual lecture in the history of medicine.

Thursday 21 November, 6pm

Speaker: Professor Christoph Gradmann, Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo.

This lecture is on the historical origins and the popularity of ‘Koch’s Postulates’.

Rather than Robert Koch, it was his colleague Friedrich Löffler who in 1884 wrote down the well-known three steps of isolation, cultivation and inoculation as conditions for establishing a microbial aetiology of an infectious disease.

These postulates are frequently invoked in textbooks of medicine and medical history. Yet, strict adherence to them is rarely to be found in medical research. Already their assumed inventor, Koch, produced numerous variations in his own methodology. Underlying his work was a sort of trivial ontology of infectious diseases which rendered an experimental study of human pathologies in animal models practical and meaningful.

There were many ways to pursue this end and Koch usually limited his discussion to practical questions related to the course that investigations had to take, while principal matters were only treated implicitly in his writings. Löffler’s achievement was to popularise Koch’s views in his postulates.

Given that, it is not surprising that references to Koch’s postulates in the 20th century usually refer to the spirit rather than the literal meaning of the postulates. Also there are countless variations of those postulates. For example, proponents of virology or molecular medicine devised variations of Koch’s postulates that serve to relate their own work to classical bacteriology. The latter is perceived as the origin of modern experimental medicine. The nature of such references is less historical than anecdotal: referring to a historical event that has never happened in a strict sense, these references produce ex traditione credentials for experimental medicine.

Christoph Gradmann is Professor in the History of Medicine at the University of Oslo Institute of Health and Society. His research focuses on the history of infectious disease in modernity (19th century to the present).

He is the author of a biography of the German physician Robert Koch (1843-1910) and many articles on related aspects of the history of bacteriology and medical research. His current work is on infectious disease from the end of the 20th century to the present, including antibiotic resistance, nosocomial infections, and emerging infections.

Venue: E P Abraham Lecture Theatre, GTC.

All welcome. No need to register – just turn up.

The Wellcome Unit’s Writer-in-Residence,  Conrad Keating, will be delivering a lecture to accompany the new Bodleian Libraries Exhibition, Great Medical Discoveries – 800 Years of Oxford Innovation. The Exhibition runs from 22nd November 2013 to 18th May 2014.

Conrad will be delivering his lecture, entitled Oxford Medical Firsts – Celebrating 800 Years of Oxford Medicine on two separate dates. You can hear it in the Bodleian Convocation House on Wednesday 27th November, at 1pm, then again at the Training Room of the Radcliffe Science Library on Monday 2nd December at 2pm. The lecture is scheduled to last for half an hour.

For the Bodleian event, booking in advance is recommended, as places are limited.

Though booking is not necessary for the Radcliffe Science Library talk, you will need a University card to enter the building. For any queries, please contact Juliet Ralph

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