HIST429-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024

From Leeches to Liposuction: A Social History of Medicine

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


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

This course explores the social history of medicine as a sub-discipline of history. It focuses on health and medical history in relationship with issues such as sexuality, bioethics and disability.
Current seminars draw on evidence from South Asia, the Pacific and medieval Europe and the Middle East. Students are encouraged to develop their own research interests and to focus on a geographical region and time period which intrigues them.
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 also consider medicine and warfare, Nazi medicine and historical ideas of the perfect body.
The course is flexible and students are welcome to suggest seminar topics in addition to those already listed below.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Understand themes in the social history of medicine
2. Explain relationships between ideas of health, medicine and disease and historical context.
3. Analyse and discuss as individuals and in groups primary sources and historiographical material.
4. Demonstrate historical insights into the social history of medicine in both written and oral form.

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 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Workshop A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 10:00 - 12:00 E13
19 Feb - 17 Mar
Workshop B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 14:00 - 16:00 Psychology - Sociology 411
19 Feb - 31 Mar
29 Apr - 2 Jun
Workshop C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 15:00 - 17:00 Elsie Locke 611 Meeting Room
18 Mar - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun

Course Coordinator

Jane Buckingham


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
History Seminar Reading Exercise 20% 1000 words including footnotes excluding bibliography
First Essay 35% 3000 words including footnotes excluding bibliography
Second Essay 35% 3000 words including footnotes excluding bibliography
Seminar Presentations 10%

Please check the course Learn page for further details and updates.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $2,046.00

* 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 .

All HIST429 Occurrences

  • HIST429-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024