The Medical History of the First World War in Europe
University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
The medical history of the First World War has often been written within national parameters. As Leo van Bergen has pointed out, this has led to a skewing of perspective in the medical historiography as ‘More has been published about the British and their Great War than about the French, Belgians or Germans.’ Van Bergen’s own work is among the few to have attempted to tackle the medical history of the war in terms of the recent trend towards transnational history in First World War studies.
This workshop aims to begin to fill this gap in the historiography of the First World War. By bringing together scholars working on aspects of medical history and the war across Europe, it presents an opportunity to explore transnational relationships within medical history of the period, as well as develop deeper comparative understandings of national histories. It is intended that the workshop will lay the foundations for a network of researchers examining a range of topics relating to the history of medicine and warfare across Europe. These may include, but are not limited to, developments in the treatment of wounds and disease; the role and status of medical services, both military and voluntary; the gendering of medical care in wartime and questions of women’s service; cultural representations of disease, wounding and medical care; the impact of war on civilian medical care; civil and military sanitation; and disability, rehabilitation and long-term medical care.
The workshop will run for a day and a half and will be co-hosted by the Centre for Medical Humanities and the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds. It will include presentations from scholars from across Europe and North America on their current research in the field, as well as a session designed to introduce scholars to the archival resources available in Leeds, including the Liddle Collection, a renowned collection of papers and artefacts relating to Britain and the war, the Bamji Collection of books and material relating both to medico-military history and the holdings of the Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine and the Thackray Museum.