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In Defence of Experimental Medicine: Emotional Appeals and Medical Didacticism in Germany, Britain and North America, 1870-1914

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - IDEM (In Defence of Experimental Medicine: Emotional Appeals and Medical Didacticism in Germany,Britain and North America, 1870-1914)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2020-07-31

IDEM focused on the strategic defence of experimental medicine in Britain, Germany and the United States, 1870-1914. At its core is the question of humanity as a medical practice.


1. To explore techniques and strategies of the medical establishment in defending experimental medicine to the lay public, in England, Germany and North America, 1870-1914.
2. To reveal ways this involved transnational networks to represent an orthodoxy of medical endeavour.
3. To assess importance of gendered affective appeals as part of dissemination of medical knowledge.
4. To analyse the extent to which these strategies altered the status of medical institutions and medical personalities into a) political agents and b) public bodies.
5. To assess the extent to which emotional responses to experimental medicine changed (both in lay society and professional).
6. To further develop the theoretical and methodological rigour that stems from the history of emotions -- to fashioning a new methodology for the history of experience.
7. To operationalise this history of experience through IDEM’s principal empirical research project.

1. Medical establishment used a variety of techniques and strategies to defend medical experimentation, including the manipulation of the popular press, the use of political influence, popular education, and societal influence.
2. While there was a well developed transnational network of medical scientists, their approaches in different national theatres were heterodox. The defence of experiment was conducted according to local conditions, but with international experience in mind.
3. The defence was heavily gendered as professional masculine endeavour, just as the anti-scientific movement was heavily gendered as hysterically female.
4. In the UK, the defence of experimental medicine resulted in medical experimentation becoming a part of government policy and publicly funded. The political role of the medical community changed significantly. In the US, the change was less pronounced, but the medical establishment acted as a political body in concert more than it had prior to.
5. The emotional response to experimental medicine became entrenched over the period in question, with experiment being experienced as a practice of humanitarianism. In lay society, the cause of experimental medicine clearly prevailed, with the conclusion that public opinion endorsed the medical view that experiment was an act of humanitarianism.
6. A new methodology of the history of experience has been put forward, and continues to be developed.
7. The principal research project has been completed, and will be published in the coming months.
"Project blog:
Research conducted at Rockefeller Archive Center, NY, Countway Library for History of Medicine, Boston, Wellcome Library London, Osler Library Montreal.

Presented, European Social Science History Conference, April 2018.
Presented, History of Emotions Conference at George Mason University, June 2018.
Presented, Society for the Social History of Medicine Conference, Liverpool, July 2018.
Presented, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, March 2018.
Presented plenary address, History of Emotions conference at Universite de Montreal (March 2018).
Presented, History of Medicine and Science Seminar, University of Durham (June 2018).
Presented, Swiss Center for Affective Sciences summer school in Affective Sciences. July, 2018.
Presented, Emotional Knowledge Workshop, University of Sussex (August 2018).
Presented research seminar, SSOM (October 2018).
Presented, UQAM seminar on the history of emotions (December 2018).
Presented, Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at McGill (Jan 2019).
Presented, Culture, Mind, Brain seminar series at McGill (Feb 2019).
Presented, theory and methods conference at the Centre for the History of Experience at the University of Tampere, Finland (March, 2019).
Presented, Affect Studies group, Columbia University, and Explorations in the Medical Humanities conference, Columbia University (March 2019).
Presented, CSHM, Vancouver (June 2019).
Panel organiser and presenter, The Contingency of Emotion and Experience: Transdisciplinary Perspectives, History of Experience, Tampere University (March, 2020).
Invited speaker, Feeling Dis/Ease: New Perspectives on Modern History, MPIB, Berlin, Germany (January, 2020).
Invited keynote speaker, Carving Out A Space for the History of Emotions, UC Dublin, Ireland (January, 2020).
Presented at Finnish Academy Centre of Excellence for the History of Experiences, Tampere University, Finland (December, 2019).
Invited speaker, Centre for the History of Emotions, QMUL, United Kingdom (November, 2019).
Panel organiser and presenter: Affective Practices of Humanitarianism and Philanthropy, NECBS, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (October, 2019).

Teaching, Jan-April 2018, Hist 410, Impacts of Darwinism, McGill.
Teaching, Graduate Summer Programme in Critical Neuroscience in Dept of Psychiatry at McGill. (June 2018).
Teaching, undergraduate lecture on the history of emotions at Tampere University, Finland (October 2019).

Results and Dissemination
""Vaccination: Fame, Fear and Controversy"" exhibition curated and installed at McGill Library (Jan-April 2018). Vernissage in Feb 2018.
Experiment exhibition, Osler Library: after fire, significant water damage closed the collection indefinitely. Exhibition re-scheduled for May 2020: postponed again because of COVID19.

""A History of Feelings"" book published, January 2019.
Article in ""Developmental Psychology"" Sept 2019.
Article in HHS.
Book chapter in ""Sources for the History of Emotions"".
Edited special issue of Emotion Review on the history of emotions (2020).
Co-authored book (with Mark Smith) to theorize new history of experience. In press. Cambridge University Press.
IDEM monograph in press at Cambridge University Press.
Book chapter on historical brain (forthcoming, Cambridge UP)."
Striking distinctions have emerged in the handling of the defence of experiment among the three national contexts.British and American responses to anti-vivisectionism are more starkly different than expected, with the British increasingly relying upon lay support to bolster scientific claims of humanity, and the American medical establishment explicitly eschewing such lay support as unhelpful and unnecessary. This highlights a clear difference in professional, social and affective cultures, made all the more interesting because of their complex international entanglement.

The main progress beyond the state of the art lies in the methodological and theoretical developments that have facilitated the writing of the principal monograph. The potential impact is to radically alter orthodoxies of knowledge about what emotion is, with implications for a massive interdisciplinary research area, for policy concerning emotional development and education, and for clinical assumptions about the importance of emotion as both experience of illness and disease and as mitigating factor in treatment. The expectation is that IDEM’s theoretical and methodological innovations and interventions will outreach the historical monograph that it has been designed to facilitate. This will come through a new methodological treatise, in press with Cambridge University Press, and through a new volume co-edited with Bettina Hitzer, on the Experience of Dis-ease.
Vivisection Research Life Net, Puck, 1911