History of Medicine


HSTS 417- History of Medicine


Instructions for the Final Research Paper


Your research paper should reflect the substantial efforts you have directed toward researching and analyzing your subject.  It will be evaluated on the basis of the conceptualization of your topic, the clarity of your argument, technical organization and execution, and the depth of your analysis.


Your work will result in a 9-12 page paper, with a complete bibliography (bibliography is not included in the page number total).  The paper should be written in Times New Roman, 12pt font size, double-spaced, with 1” margins all around (Word default 1.25” on left and right margins is acceptable).  A title page is not necessary, but the paper should have a title.  Papers may be submitted to Canvas (see the Assignments tab)


If you are familiar with APA, MLA, or Chicago format you may use any one of them.  I only ask that you remain consistent throughout the paper.  If you are not familiar with any of these formats, you may cite sources within your paper parenthetical notation (e.g.- Rosenberg, 2007, p.128).  The following citations would be an acceptable guide for your bibliography entries:



Porter, Roy. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999.


Essays in Collected Volumes:

Agrimi, Jole and Crisciani, Chiara. Charity and Aid in the Byzantine and Arab World in Western Medical Thought from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Mirko D. Grmek (ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1998.


Journal Articles: use this format even if you acquired the article from an online database.

Belkin, Gary S. Brain Death and the Historical Understanding of Bioethics. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. 2003. Vol.58(3):292-324.



Buklijas, Tatjana and Hopwood, Nick. Making Visible Embryos (website). Accessed May 24, 2016 from http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/visibleembryos/index.html.


Contact me with any questions you may have.  I look forward to seeing all of your progress in the weeks ahead.



I need a total of 6 resources. I have 4 more resources if you want to use them.


1-  Jęczmińska, K. (2018). History of lobotomy in Poland. History of Psychiatry, 29(1), 3-21.


2-  Pressman, J. (1998). Last resort : Psychosurgery and the limits of medicine (Cambridge history of medicine). Cambridge, U.K. ; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.


3-  NeumNeumaier, F., Paterno, M., Alpdogan, S., Tevoufouet, E. E., Schneider, T., Hescheler, J., & Albanna, W. (2017). Surgical Approaches in Psychiatry: A Survey of the World Literature on Psychosurgery. World Neurosurgery97603-634.e8. doi:10.1016/j.wneu.2016.10.008


4-   Wickham, B. (2014). Book Review: Mical Raz, The Lobotomy Letters: The Making of American Psychosurgery. History Of Psychiatry25(1), 128-130. doi:10.1177/0957154X13520193b


Use the Porter book for information



extra instruction :

The topic must cover a subject in the history of medicine, it should be, then, historically focused. This means that whatever question you end up asking about your topic should be concerned primarily with the past and not simply how it relates to the present. For instance, the current state of anti-vaccine protests and politics would most likely not qualify, but looking into the history of resistance to inoculation campaigns would. Recent history is fair game (although as a rule-of-thumb let’s limit ourselves to things 20 years old or older). I recommend making your topic narrow rather than broad. This seems limiting at first, but as you are in the writing process, you will probably thank yourself for coming up with a well-defined topic. Something like “the history of cancer,” for instance, might be too ambitious for a 9-12 page paper, whereas “shifting conceptions of autism from the mid to late 20th century” would give you some clearer parameters while still leaving plenty of meat on the bone so-to-speak. I realize many of you are not well acquainted with the history of medicine beyond what we’ve covered in class. You might start by scanning through the Porter book (or better yet, the index) to find some potential subjects. If you find one in Porter, look at the references he used to write that chapter and the list of further readings on that subject (in the back of the book). Alternatively, you might look at the journals devoted to the history of medicine (see the list in the Library Resources document in the Files folder). They will give you some sense of questions that historians typically ask about the history of medicine You might also look within a particular era that interests you (say, the Medieval period or the Enlightenment). Feel free to think slightly outside of the normal bounds of “physic,” to things like pharmacology, veterinary medicine, surgery, or other medical topics. Here are a handful of example topics/questions: “What has the example of tobacco taught us about the relationship between medical opinion, industry, and the law?” “What role did physicians play in the enactment and repeal of Prohibition?” “Why was Medieval Europe relatively more permissive of women as health care providers than it was in Antiquity or the Early Modern period?” “How did the interactions of Chinese and Western medicine differ in the following two contexts: the west coast of the United States and the urban centers of eastern China between the late 19th century and the late 20th?” The thesis should not be all that different from those you’ve used in other courses. Ideally, it will take the form of a historical argument, suggesting that your particular interpretation of the historical facts is correct. The argument should be an answer to the question you posed along with your initial topic proposal (of course, allowing for any changes you may have made to the plan since then). Be ambitious and clear. Try to make the firmest statement you can based on what you have uncovered through your research, and avoid as many vagaries as you can. You should declare your argument somewhere in your introduction and use the remainder of the paper defending it with well selected evidence and thoughtful analysis.

find the cost of your paper