International Health Organizations (IHOs) and the History of Health and Medicine c. 1870-2012

October 18-20, 2013, Shanghai, CHINA

Shanghai, China
A jointly organized conference between the Shanghai Social Sciences Association, the David Musto Centre at Shanghai University, and the CSHHH Glasgow at the University of Strathclyde

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IHOs and the history of health and medicine

Recent studies of institutions as varied as the League of Nations Health Committee, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Medical Missionary Society have drawn attention to the multiple roles played by international organizations since the nineteenth-century in the fields of healthcare and medicine. Most obviously they have played important parts in addressing particular health crises and emergencies, by providing medical expertise, drugs and medicines, and more general aid. Longer term impacts, however, have included the establishment of lasting healthcare infrastructures, the dissemination of new ideas about health and medicine, and the emergence of major bodies that transcend national political, economic and professional interests. However, from the refusal of the East India Company to sanction medical missionary activity in the eighteenth-century, to the recent ban on the WHO by al-Shabaab in Somalia, such international organizations have often faced opposition and hostility. While there are a number of studies of particular institutions and movements, the IHO has rarely been viewed as a distinct phenomenon in the history of health and medicine in the modern period. This conference seeks to address this by bringing together historians and those from related disciplines with relevant research interests. It aims to examine fresh insights into particular periods, organizations and case studies, but also to explore the potential of comparative perspectives, and of teasing IHOs out of the wider history of health and medicine in modernity.

Posted: September 13, 2013