Historical Aspects of Preventive Healthcare in Germany and Poland
Call for papers for the XVI.th Conference of the German-Polish Society for the History of Medicine (DPGGM)
Hamburg Museum of Medical History, July 12-14, 2017 Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, (Fritz Schumacher-Haus) Martinistr. 52, 20246 Hamburg
At first sight, the promise that prevention is a better option than cure seems to be an "eternal truth". However, in the course of history, the methods of disease prevention have changed as much as the medi-cal theories explaining, and the practices treating the diseases. The interactions between disease prophy-laxis and medicine are of particular interest: preventive practices are not focused on the diseased, but on the healthy person. Prevention does not include medical intervention (except for vaccination and some pharmacological actions) – it intends to change behaviour (e.g. nutrition), and alter certain environmental and cultural circumstances (e.g. water pollution, occupational medicine). In most cases, prevention is an act of social intervention. Systematically, two levels of disease prevention can be distinguished, which also cross over in numerous preventive practices: on the one hand, all measures aimed at individual health for a healthy lifestyle, following the tradition of ancient dietetics. On the other hand, the reflections and measures for the promotion of public health, which were formed in the modern times.
For the history of medicine, the history of prevention is particularly revealing in some respects. Far be-yond the personal physician-patient relationship, it allows an analysis of the concepts and policies of med-icine with regard to population and social order. Furthermore, it allows an analysis of the values past soci-eties attributed to health (and medicine), as reflected in particular by establishing a state infrastructure for health care (health insurance, hospital, health system).
As Salomon Neumann and Rudolf Virchow have put it in the middle of the nineteenth century, medicine became a "social science". Historians can reflect how it was perceived, legitimized and, if necessary, uti-lized.
The conference will focus on preventive medicine and disease prevention strategies in the Polish-German context. Besides and beyond the ‘awakening’ of Rudolf Virchow regarding public health matters taking place in the Silesian industrial region, a comparative perspective allows for analyzing diversified constella-tions of medical cultures, health, medicine, and governance structures as well as governmentality dis-courses and practices.
The primary conference language is English. Submissions should be either in German, Polish or English (during the conference there will be no translation of Polish and German papers into English). The confer-ence opening will be on Wednesday, July 12 in the evening and will end on Friday, July 14. Conference fee is 35 Euros; accommodation and travel cost will not be reimbursed. Please send your abstract to <firstname.lastname@example.org> by the 1st of April 2017.