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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5231M Medicine and Warfare in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

30 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Dr Jessica Meyer

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module examines the history of the development of military medicine in Britain and Europe since the middle of the 19th century. It explores the political negotiations over the professionalisation of medicine as a branch of the armed services, the development of medical technologies in times of conflict and the significance of transport and hygiene in shaping medical caregiving. It considers the social and cultural implications of military medicine, including the development of humanitarian principles of wartime caregiving, the implications of military medicine for the gendering of care and cultures of war hospitals. Finally, it examines the long-term social impacts of war disability and pensions for post-war societies.


1) To explore the history of military medicine in Europe
2) To analyse the historiographic debates relating to this subject
3) To understand how developments in military medicine over time influenced and were influenced by wider social and cultural changes in Europe
4) To critically analyse a range of primary sources, including texts, visual images and material culture, relating to these issues
5) To formulate nuanced arguments, both written and oral, in relation to these issues
6) To further develop both transferable and subject specific skills

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module the students should:
1) have developed an understanding of the history of military medicine in Britain and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries
2) have a sophisticated knowledge of the relevant historiography, including recent developments in the field
3) be able to analyse a range of source materials, from military orders to medical objects
4) be capable of developing a clear argument based on a range of primary and secondary sources


Topics covered in the syllabus may include an introduction to the Bamji Collection of printed books, transport and logistics, hygiene and disease prevention, battlefield surgery, gender, psychological injury, cultures of caregiving and war disability pensions.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

The students will read extensively each week to prepare for class discussion. They will have to prepare two essays and an oral presentation and a prepared response to another student's presentation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Through ensuring class participation, evaluating oral presentations and responses and assessing essay and book review.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay 1 x 4,000-word essay, due Monday of revision week60.00
Literature Review1 x 2000-word book review, due Monday of teaching week 740.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 17/01/2024


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