Welcome to the newly-established blog of the UCL Centre for the History of Medicine. My thanks to Sally Frampton whose initiative this is. The Centre was established in 2011 and is located within the Division of Biosciences at UCL. This is an unusual, if not unique, situation for a humanities department that brings with it opportunities as well as challenges.
Through our teaching and research activities we maintain a commitment to the wider field of the history of medicine. Our focus is however upon history of neuroscience, a subject that is intrinsically interdisciplinary in nature. The study of the brain and the rest of the nervous system of course form part of the province of the life sciences and clinical medicine. But it also impinges on fields such as philosophy of mind and ethics. Moreover, increasingly bold claims are made for how advancing understanding of the neural basis of all aspects of behaviour must transform the methodological underpinnings of the social sciences and humanities. Through advertising and the media we are bombarded with gaudy images of the brain all seemingly designed to drive home the inescapable nature of our cerebral destiny. Part of the Centre’s mission is to seek an historical understanding of these developments.
Our hope is that this blog will help to disseminate our activities to a wider audience.
Stephen Jacyna, Centre Director.