Tag Archive | medical

Early Modern Military-Medical Complex

is what they’re calling a future special issue of the Canadian Journal of History.

To quote from the call:

For this thematic issue of the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire we invite proposals for articles that will explore the changing relationships between early modern armed forces, medicine, society, and the state. Potential authors might want to consider topics such as the administration and treatment of patients in field hospitals and the operational relevance of field medicine, the institutionalization of military medicine and education as well as training and career paths in military medicine, and the relationship between military and civilian medicine and the role of military medicine in the formation of medical knowledge. This thematic issue will develop an international comparative perspective on early modern military medicine and the state.

Abstracts due 15 October. See here if you’re interested.

Fighting in the Age of Scurvy

Or, War before the Time of Cholera.

Having emerged, disease-free, from my gauntlet of Christmas-holiday air travel (1700 miles each way, and that was only halfway across the US), I can now appreciate the publication of this new work even more.

Charters, Erica. Disease, War, and the Imperial State: The Welfare of the British Armed Forces during the Seven Years’ War. Chicago ; London: University Of Chicago Press, 2014.
Abstract: The Seven Years’ War, often called the first global war, spanned North America, the West Indies, Europe, and India.  In these locations diseases such as scurvy, smallpox, and yellow fever killed far more than combat did, stretching the resources of European states. In Disease, War, and the Imperial State, Erica Charters demonstrates how disease played a vital role in shaping strategy and campaigning, British state policy, and imperial relations during the Seven Years’ War. Military medicine was a crucial component of the British war effort; it was central to both eighteenth-century scientific innovation and the moral authority of the British state. Looking beyond the traditional focus of the British state as a fiscal war-making machine, Charters uncovers an imperial state conspicuously attending to the welfare of its armed forces, investing in medical research, and responding to local public opinion.  Charters shows military medicine to be a credible scientific endeavor that was similarly responsive to local conditions and demands. Disease, War, and the Imperial State is an engaging study of early modern warfare and statecraft, one focused on the endless and laborious task of managing manpower in the face of virulent disease in the field, political opposition at home, and the clamor of public opinion in both Britain and its colonies.
 I didn’t realize we were allowed to look beyond the fiscal-military state – good to know.

Sense and Sensibility

New article on the psyche of mid/late-18C soldiers:

Shaw, Philip. “Longing for Home: Robert Hamilton, Nostalgia and the Emotional Life of the Eighteenth-Century Soldier.” Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, December 1, 2014.
Abstract: This article focuses on Robert Hamilton’s The Duties of a Regimental Soldier (1787; rev edn 1794). The article places Hamilton’s case study of a common soldier suffering from nostalgia, a potentially fatal disease of the imagination arising in displaced young recruits and in young women removed from their families, within the broader contexts of the history of medical education, contemporary theories of the passions, ideas of military discipline and the culture of sensibility. Hamilton’s treatment of nostalgia raises questions about the relations between class and sensibility, between literature and science, and between medical professionalism and the gendered nature of military identity.
Fortunately, I think we now have a vaccine for nostalgia, thank god.

Medical Military History

Surely this combination of military and medical must be one of the rarest you’ll find in historiography, but here’s yet another article on the subject.

Neufeld, Matthew. “The Framework of Casualty Care during the Anglo-Dutch Wars.” War in History 19, no. 4 (2012): 427-444.


The framework of casualty care during the Anglo-Dutch Wars has been found severely wanting by historians of naval medicine. This judgement is grounded on the fact that naval hospitals were constructed eventually in the 1750s, and because the hospitalization of sick and hurt mariners conforms better to a Weberian model of state and military modernization. This article argues that the measures for casualty care erected during the Dutch wars adhered to an early modern model of state formation. The framework of care extended the scope and social depth of politically involved people. It failed because the carers were consistently underfunded, not because locally based care was inherently unworkable or insufficiently bureaucratic and centralized.

Take that, historiography!