Erwin H. Ackerknecht was an influential member of that small group of largely émigré historians of medicine who professionalized their field in the United States. Ackerknecht was influenced by both contemporary social science and an implicitly political vision of social medicine. It was a vision reinforced by his work in social anthropology in Paris in the 1930s, and it is a tradition that has its own intellectual pedigree, one that can be traced back to the era of Rudolf Virchow. It was no accident that Ackerknecht wrote on the social and ecological dimensions of disease, and that he was a vigorous advocate of a powerfully felt but, in retrospect, inconsistent relativism. His emphases on everyday medical practice and on siting ideas in their social and institutional context seem prescient, a forerunner of contemporary trends in social and cultural history.
Do the former colonizing powers, like their former colonies, have "postcolonial medicine," and if so, where does it take place, who practices it, and upon whom? How has British medicine in particular responded to the huge cultural shifts represented by the rise of the New Commonwealth and associated postcolonial immigration? I address these questions through a case study of the medical and political responses to vitamin D deficiency among Britain's South Asian communities since the 1960s. My research suggests that in these contexts, diet frequently became a proxy or shorthand for culture (and religion, and race), while disease justified pressure to assimilate.
This article argues that historians of medicine have, until very recently, misinterpreted the relationship of "science" and "the clinic" in the early twentieth century. It follows recent historiographic developments in focusing on the relationship in practice as exemplified by the development of a specific variety of collaborative clinical research using laboratory methods, ca. 1919–37, in a major British medical school. It suggests that it is such working hybrids that should be studied in order to understand fully the development of scientific medicines in the United Kingdom in this period. In Glasgow, it was the local medical culture's characteristic local subservience to clinical priorities that facilitated, in a particular kind of academic unit, a certain type of hierarchical teamwork between clinicians and laboratory workers; the paper reveals how and why this teamwork became, over time, more of an equal partnership.
This article details the history of Slossfield Hospital, an African American hospital and community center founded in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1937. During its New Deal–era existence it provided African American physicians institutional support for their medical practices. Additionally, as a community center, it addressed the socioeconomics of good health. This paper uses Slossfield as a case study to explore how some African Americans included the socioeconomic in their definition of public health during the New Deal, as well as to understand how these ideas were subsumed by more mainstream ideas about public health promulgated by black and white physicians and the local and federal governments.