The Twelfth Cambridge Wellcome Lecture in the History of Medicine was given by Professor Alexandra Minna Stern (University of Michigan) on 24 November 2016.
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As Parliament debates the hormonal pregnancy test Primodos and its alleged links to birth defects, Jesse Olszynko-Gryn places the drug in the history of pregnancy testing and asks why the British government took so long to ban it.
A two-day conference bringing together historians, demographers and other social scientists from France and Britain working in the field of reproductive politics was held in September 2016.
Leah Astbury will be staying in Cambridge this academic year as a Society for Renaissance Studies Postdoctoral Fellow with matching funding from the Isaac Newton Trust.
A talk Dr Lisa Smith (University of Essex) took place in the Whipple Museum on 31 March 2016.
As High-Rise opens in British cinemas, Jesse Olszynko-Gryn writes in the Guardian’s H-Word blog about how J.G. Ballard’s novel reflected contemporary animal research and fears of urban overcrowding.
Our fifth Reproduction on Film series was held in February and March 2016.
The Wellcome Trust has approved a further extension to the Generation to Reproduction strategic award
Salim Al-Gailani has been awarded a visiting research fellowship at the John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester.
Salim Al-Gailani writes at the Guardian H-Word blog about how the history of German measles can help us understand the Zika epidemic today.
The Eleventh Cambridge Wellcome Lecture in the History of Medicine was given by Michael Stolberg (University of Würzburg) on 14 January 2016.
The Fall issue of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine is devoted to ‘Communicating Reproduction’.
A debate considering historical perspectives on the ideal age to start a family was held as part of the 2015 Festival of Ideas.
We tend to see infertility as a wholly modern concern, but Leah Astbury suggests we can learn something from the 17th century.
Leah Astbury has been appointed a research associate in the Generation to Reproduction group for six months from January 2016.
A conference on Sex, Disease and Fertility in History was held at CRASSH on 28–30 September 2015.
A conference exploring reproduction as a theme to unite diverse strands of film history was held on 23–25 September 2015.
Boyd Brogan has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship for a project on ‘Maladies of Seed: Chastity Diseases in Early Modern England’.
Sarah Franklin and Martin Johnson have launched a new journal, Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online.
Nick Hopwood and Hannah Landecker gave lectures as part of a workshop put on by the IVF Histories and Cultures Project.
The University of Chicago Press has published ‘Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud’ by Nick Hopwood.
Clare Griffin has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG).
The fourth ‘Reproduction on Film’ series was held on Wednesdays in February and March 2015.
Anne Hanley, who recently finished a PhD in the History Faculty, has been appointed to a Junior Research Fellowship at New College, Oxford.
Jesse Olszynko-Gryn and Sarah Bull have been awarded Wellcome Trust research fellowships.
Mary Brazelton will be taking up the new lectureship in Global Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine from September 2015.
The Tenth Cambridge Wellcome Lecture in the History of Medicine was held on Thursday 15 January 2015.
Martin Johnson and Kay Elder gave a lecture on ‘Events leading to the birth of Louise Brown’ as part of an IVF Histories and Cultures workshop.
Continuing the series of debates held by members of the ‘Generation to Reproduction’ project, the debate for the 2014 Festival of Ideas considered whether, historically, menstruation is best understood as necessary to a woman’s health.
A special issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences reflects on the social, medical and technological shifts that have shaped pregnancy since the turn of the twentieth century.
An interdisciplinary conference, ‘Con/Tested: Sperm Science, Sterility and Masculinity’, was held on 11–12 September 2014.
Jenny Bangham has been awarded the 2014 Marc-Auguste Pictet Prize for her PhD thesis.
Many congratulations to Ayesha Nathoo, who has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship to work for three years from 1 October 2014 at the Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter on ‘Cultivating Relaxation in Twentieth-Century Britain’.
The Wellcome Trust has approved a further no-cost extension to the Generation to Reproduction strategic award, so the project will now run till 30 September 2016.
The Wellcome Trust has made a three-year Strategic Award for completion of the Casebooks Project.
Congratulations to Leah Astbury, who has been awarded first prize for her paper on ‘Caring for Newborns in Early Modern England’ in the Social History Society postgraduate conference paper competition.
Congratulations to Jim Secord on the publication of his new book.
A workshop on ‘Cities and Towns as Epidemiological Drivers: Emerging Issues in Urban Historical Demography‘ was held at the Department of Geography on 17–18 March 2014.
The Ninth Cambridge Wellcome Lecture in the History of Medicine was given by Professor Malcolm Nicolson (University of Glasgow) on Thursday 16 January 2014.
Gabriella Zuccolin, who has been lecturing on medieval medicine this term, has been awarded a three-year Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship to work on a project on ‘Women’s medicine between script and print, c.1450–1600′. Congratulations!
The Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum held its ninth Interdisciplinary Workshop on Reproduction at CRASSH on 15 November 2013.
Professor Sarah Franklin (Department of Sociology) gave her inaugural lecture, ‘After IVF: the Reproductive Turn in Social Thought’, on 30 October 2013.
Laura Dawes, who has been events and outreach officer on the Generation to Reproduction project since February, is moving on. Laura will be a visiting scholar at CHSTM in Manchester and then based in the United States, concentrating on her new book on the industrial disease “phossy jaw” and developing her consultancy work in science [...]
Principal Investigator Lauren Kassell announces the sixth release in the Casebooks Project.
Congratulations to Karin on her new job at St. John’s College, Maryland
This panel as part of Cambridge’s Festival of Ideas considers the factors causing regional fertility differences in Europe and will debate the continent’s reproductive future.
Jim Secord, Principal Investigator, discusses his work on the Darwin Correspondence Project.
Welcome to Margaret Carlyle, new postdoctoral fellow in the History and Philosophy of Science Department
Seminar on the history of psychoanalysis run by Principal Investigator John Forrester
Inaugural lecture by Professor Sarah Franklin
Leah Astbury discusses her work on pregnancy and childbirth in early modern England
Principal Investigator Rebecca Flemming will give a talk on medical ideas in the Greek and Roman worlds as part of the Festival of Ideas.
A conference on Making Love, Making Gender, Making Babies in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s was held at CRASSH on 6-7 September 2013.
Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproductive Forum (CIRF) call for papers on “Communicating Reproduction”.
Martin Johnson, Principal Investigator, discusses his work on the history of IVF.
See Martin Johnson’s photo of mouse embryos after IVF
Leah Astbury looks at narratives of reproduction in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Generation to Reproduction’s mini-lecture series, Born to Rule: Royal Births in Tudor and Stuart England, is now available for download from iTunesU. You can find the lectures in Cambridge University’s collection in the iTunesU store.
Peter Jones, Principal Investigator, discusses his work on medieval medical books.
A conference on In/Fertility and Sacred Space: From Antiquity to the Early Modern was held at CRASSH on 15–16 July 2013.
Anniversary of the first IVF or “test-tube” baby.
Notebooks, Medicine and the Sciences in Early Modern Europe, the inaugural workshop of the Notebooks Network, was held in the Department on 12–13 July 2013.
John Forrester, Principal Investigator, discusses his work on Robert Stoller and gender identity.
Podcast of the second lecture in the public lecture series Born to Rule: Royal Births in Tudor and Stuart England
The Whipple Museum has reprinted Nick Hopwood’s book Embryos in Wax. This book and others are available by post or via the online ordering system.
This symposium examines the ways in which judgements and discourses of selfishness or selflessness have shaped contemporary and historical societies.
Jenny Bangham has been appointed Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin until April 2016. She will be part of the research group “Twentieth-Century Histories of Knowledge about Human Variation”. Many congratulations!
Free public lecture in the series Born to Rule: Royal Births in Tudor and Stuart England
Mary Fissell, speaker on Generation to Reproduction’s Born to Rule public lecture series, interviewed by the BBC
Free public lecture in the series Born to Rule: Royal Births in Tudor and Stuart England
Podcast of the first lecture in the public lecture series Born to Rule: Royal Births in Tudor and Stuart England
A conference comparing political and ethical debates over medical and cultural innovations in ‘sex’, ‘gender’ and ‘reproduction’ over the period 1950-1970.
Tuesday 25 June, 5:00pm
Little Hall, Sidgwick Avenue
Henry VIII: The Quest for an Heir and Mary of Modena: A Royal Scandal
Concerns about fertility and children have been (and still are) common reasons for visiting, and more generally engaging with, the sacred spaces—sanctuaries and shrines, groves and grottoes—of many religions and cultures.
The Department of Sociology (University of Cambridge) is seeking to appoint two Research Associates to work on a project examining the postwar UK history of assisted conception technology.
Many congratulations to Salim Al-Gailani and Jesse Olszynko-Gryn, who have been appointed to two-year positions supported by the “Generation to Reproduction” programme and History and Philosophy of Science department.
Monday 13 May, 2013
5:00 – 6:30pm
15-16 September 2013
Tuesday 16 April, 3:00pm
BBC Radio 4
Nobel Laureate and pioneer of IVF
Babakas: Our Fathers, with post-performance discussion on fatherhood
Wednesday 10 April, 7:30pm
Monday 8 April, 9:00pm
Two research associate positions
A series of programmes exploring pregnancy and parenthood in Britain today
“Generational Change in Reproductive Cultures” seminar series
Close date 30 April 2013
Professor Alison Bashford appointed Vere Harmsworth Chair of Imperial and Naval History
A star sperm donor falls in love in this light-hearted Bollywood film
Generation to Reproduction seminar
Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes a mother
A screwball comedy about a surprise pregnancy
Jenny Rampling appointed Assistant Professor in History at Princeton University
Generation to Reproduction seminar
Our third series of ‘Reproduction on Film’
Please extend a very warm welcome to Dr Laura Dawes, the new events and outreach officer on the Generation to Reproduction project. Laura, who comes to us all the way from Canberra, trained in mathematics and statistics at Murdoch University, and in economic and social history at Oxford, and then completed a PhD in history [...]
Generatio: medieval debates about procreation, heredity and ‘bioethics’
The theme for the 13th Ischia Summer School on the History of the Life Sciences is Creating Life: From Alchemy to Synthetic Biology. The deadline for applications is 15 February. Nick Hopwood co-organizes the school and Peter Murray Jones and Helen Curry are among the faculty.
Places at the symposium will be limited to 30 plus speakers. Cost per person will be £20, including lunch, coffee and tea. Please apply as soon as possible to reserve a place to Peter Jones (email@example.com). Friday 7 December 17.30 Open lecture, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Free School Lane, Cambridge: Marianne Elsakkers [...]
Jesse Olszynko-Gryn contributed the first entry to MaMSIE, a blog that aims at Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics. Jesse discusses representations of early pregnancy in novels and the difference that hormonal tests, invented in the late 1920s, did or did not make.
CIRF’s Interdisciplinary Workshop on Reproduction is about showcasing research related to reproduction that is taking place at the University of Cambridge. This year, our eighth, we have a great selection of speakers coming from a number of different disciplines, such as Sociology, Classics, Law, English, and Psychology. The Interdisciplinary Workshop on Reproduction gives both speakers and members of the audience the opportunity to make interdisciplinary [...]
Historians of medicine from HPS are active in the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum, a graduate/faculty research group at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.
Thursday 1 November 2012 5.30pm – 7pm Mill Lane Lecture Room 9, 8 Mill Lane ‘The hospitalization of childbirth has historically benefited birthing women less than their doctors.’ Around 1900, very few babies in Britain were born in hospitals; by the end of the century, hardly any were not. As part of the Festival of Ideas, [...]
Congratulations to Simon Szreter on the publication of his new book
Congratulations to Leah Astbury, formerly of the History Faculty now in HPS, who has been awarded a PhD studentship attached to our Wellcome Trust strategic award for a project on motherhood and medicine in early modern England.
Shirlene Badger, currently events and outreach officer on the Generation to Reproduction project, has been appointed Senior Research Associate at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, starting next month. She will be seconded to the Public Health Genomics Foundation for the first four years, where she will lead their part of the Evaluation and Implementation [...]
Jesse Olszynko-Gryn discusses the history of pregnancy testing.
Peter Jones, Principal Investigator on Generation to Reproduction, talks about a medieval vade mecum or medical reference book. The book is held in the library of King’s College, Cambridge. It includes notes on treatments and cures for a range of disorders, including those relating to fertility and pregnancy. The book is a valuable resource for [...]
Friday 13 – Saturday 14 July 2012 This conference brought together established scholars and junior researchers in East Asian history, history of medicine, sociology, political science, anthropology and gender studies, to present their cutting-edge work on the multiple facets of reproductive science, medicine, and technology in modern China. Link to conference website
28-30 June 2012 The postwar study of human heredity was shaped by an array of fields engaged with the study of human populations, including cytogenetics, physical anthropology, epidemiology, public health and demography. This workshop addressed the continuities in population thinking across these fields, and the shared practices, institutional structures and analytical and organisational technologies that [...]
29–30 March 2012 Around 1900, few pregnant women in Europe or North America had any contact with a medical practitioner before going into labour. By the second half of the twentieth century, the hospitalization of childbirth, the legalization of abortion and a host of biomedical technologies from the home pregnancy test and IVF to obstetric [...]
27 February – 21 March 2012 at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse The second of our Reproduction on Film series -’Monstrosity’ Throughout the 20th century, films used the monstrous to explore concerns about intervention and normality. This second series of ‘Reproduction on Film’ presented works featuring various artificial and natural monsters, examining anxieties about science, sex, [...]
Thursday 19 January 2012 4.30pm in Seminar Room 2, Department of History and Philosophy of Science Staffan Müller-Wille (University of Exeter) Revisiting the Mendelian revolution Much research into heredity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries took place in such applied contexts as seed production, breeding yeast and cereals for large-scale beer making, mass-manufacture [...]
Many thanks to Francis Neary for his large contribution to the ‘Generation to Reproduction’ programme as events and outreach officer over the last two years, including taking the lead in curating the ‘Books and Babies’ exhibition and running two mini-seasons of films. Francis is going full-time on the Darwin Correspondence Project, so we will stay [...]
‘Revisiting the Mendelian revolution’, the Seventh Cambridge Wellcome Lecture in the History of Medicine, was given by Staffan Müller-Wille (University of Exeter) on Thursday 19 January 2012. A paper by Dr Müller-Wille was discussed at a workshop on the same day.
A conference to be held in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, on 5–6 December 2011 Scholars have explored continuities and discontinuities in theories of sex and gender; knowledge of entities such as seeds, germs, embryos, monsters and clones; concerns about creation, evolution, degeneration and regeneration; investments in maternity, paternity [...]
A conference on Communicating Reproduction was held in the Department on 5–6 December 2011.
This workshop, the seventh in a successful series, aims to promote communication and exchange among people in Cambridge working on various aspects of reproduction. For further information, click here.
The Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum held its seventh Interdisciplinary Workshop on Reproduction at CRASSH on 18 November 2011.
Our first debate on the history of scientific and ethical issues surrounding in vitro fertilisation, took place at Cambridge University Library on 20 October 2011 as part of the Festival of Ideas.
We welcome Ramona Braun (Paris), who has been awarded a Wellcome Trust doctoral studentship to work on ‘Laparoscopy in the control of human fertility: practice, instruments and knowledge transfer in British and German gynaecology, 1950–1980′. Congratulations! A warm welcome also to Anne Hanley (Sydney), who is beginning a PhD in the Faculty of History on [...]
Debating Reproduction: IVF, our first debate on the history of scientific and ethical issues surrounding in vitro fertilisation, took place at Cambridge University Library on 20 October 2011 as part of the Festival of Ideas.
Thursday, 22 September 2011 to Saturday, 24 September 2011 Location: Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge Alchemists pursued many goals, from the transmutation of metals to the preservation of health and life. These pursuits were continually informed and modified by medical knowledge, while alchemical debates about nature, generation, and the achievability of perfection in turn impacted on medicine and [...]
A conference on Alchemy and Medicine from Antiquity to the Enlightenment was held at Peterhouse on 22–24 September 2011.
September 2011 marks the 400th anniversary of Simon Forman’s death. To commemorate this anniversary, his life and writings are featured in ‘The Astrologer’s Tables’, History Today, September 2011. Lauren Kassell delivered a public lecture on ‘Simon Forman: Astrology, Medicine and Quackery in Elizabethan England’ on 27 September 2011 at the Museum of the History of Science, University [...]
Lauren Kassell and the Casebooks Project team have launched a new website for The Casebooks Project: A Digital Edition of Simon Forman’s and Richard Napier’s Medical Records 1596–1634.
Books and Babies: Communicating Reproduction, an exhibition supported by our Wellcome Trust strategic award, is on at the University Library until December. Curator Francis Neary said: ‘The show is about how people have talked and written about reproduction. We’re interested in the link between communication media and this intimate part of our lives that has also [...]
7 July-23 December 2011 The London underground displays posters for fertility clinics, directed at both women and men. Picture books teach children the facts of life. We are always reading about reproduction. Reproduction also describes what communication media do—multiply images, sounds and text for wider consumption. This exhibition was about these two senses of reproduction, [...]
A 15th century medical text
Embryology and its objects
When Charles Darwin was completing the book that became the Descent of Man (1871), the idea that humans had descended from a tree-dwelling primate had been widely—though not universally—accepted. One of the biggest problems he faced in reaching his wide audience was sex. The first part of his manuscript dealt with broad issues of human evolution; but [...]
Translation: ‘If a woman gives birth and the baby has lion’s ears: there will be a strong king in the land. If a woman gives birth and the baby has no right ear: the prince’s days will end. If a woman gives birth and the baby has no left ear: [...]
The 12th Ischia Summer School on the History of Life Sciences was about Biology and the Public: Participation and Exclusion from the Renaissance to the Present Day. Nick Hopwood co-organized the school, and Anne and Jim Secord were among the faculty.
Vanessa Heggie has been appointed to a two-year Teaching Associateship in History of Modern Medicine and Biology funded by our Wellcome Trust Strategic Award and departmental funds. Many congratulations!
Many congratulations to Elma Brenner! With the completion of her Wellcome Research Fellowship, she is moving on to a Mellon Fellowship at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto for next academic year. She has also been awarded a one month Dr and Mrs James C. Caillouette Fellowship at the Huntington Library in San Marino.
A workshop on Reproduction and the Sciences in Cambridge was held in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience on 8 April 2011, and a workshop on Leprosy, Language and Identity in the Medieval World was held at King’s College on 12–13 April 2011.
Nick Whitfield, who is finishing a PhD in HPS, has been awarded a Government of Canada Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to spend a year from September in the Department of Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal. Nick will use the archive of the Canadian communist surgeon Norman Bethune to research his development of [...]
Congratulations to Elaine Leong and Hannah Newton, both of whom have been awarded Wellcome Trust research fellowships. Elaine worked as an Teaching Associate in HPS in 2006–7, then moved to the University of Warwick where she’s held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. She will be returning to Cambridge in September 2011 to work on a [...]
A workshop to be held in the Bryan Matthews Room, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, on 8 April 2011 Cambridge was perhaps the major European centre of innovation in research on reproduction in the twentieth century. The concentration in one city of University and other institutions with different missions and disciplinary [...]
Our first ‘Reproduction on Film’ series, covering the topic of Reproductive Dystopias, took place during March 2011 at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. See James Poskett’s blog entry for the Wellcome Trust about The Stepford Wives.
7 March – 23 March 2011 at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse The first of our Reproduction on Film series – ’Reproductive Dystopias’ As part of the Generation to Reproduction Wellcome Trust Strategic Award events programme, our first ‘Reproduction on Film’ series covers the topic of Reproductive Dystopias. It presents a series of pessimistic visions of futures in which [...]
Congratulations to Vanessa Heggie on the publication of A History of British Sports Medicine by Manchester University Press. The book explores a series of transformations in the athletic body. ‘Athletes start the century as normal, healthy citizens, and end up as potentially unhealthy physiological “freaks”, while the general public are increasingly urged to do more exercise and play more [...]
Congratulations to Jenny Bangham and Susannah Gibson on being awarded special commendations in the 2010 BSHS Singer Prize competition. Jenny’s essay was on ‘The Rhesus controversy: scientific notations, paper tools and their articulation’ and Susannah’s on ‘Newtonian vegetables and perceptive plants’.
Thursday 20 January 2011 4.30pm in Seminar Room 2, Department of History and Philosophy of Science Mary Fissell (Johns Hopkins University) ‘Encountering Aristotle’s Masterpiece, or how to find a racy book about reproduction’ Aristotle’s Masterpiece was the most popular English book about reproduction from its first publication in 1684 all the way into the 1930s. It is [...]
Congratulations to the Bremen-based network on ‘Population, Knowledge, Order, Change: Demography and Politics in the Twentieth Century in Global Perspective’ on receiving funding from the German Research Foundation. Our own Jesse Olszynko-Gryn is a network member.
We welcome Mary Fissell, from the Institute of the History of Medicine of the Johns Hopkins University, to the Department as a visiting scholar for seven months. Mary, who is supported by a Wellcome Trust research expenses grant, will give the Wellcome Lecture and lead several seminars and reading groups. These will draw on her work on early-modern [...]
‘Encountering Aristotle’s Masterpiece, or how to find a racy book about reproduction’, the Sixth Cambridge Wellcome Lecture in the History of Medicine, was given by Mary Fissell (Johns Hopkins University) on Thursday 20 January 2011.
Friday, 12 November 2010 09:00 – 17:30 Location: Dept of History and Philosophy of Science, Free School Lane, Cambridge This workshop, the sixth in a successful series, aims to promote communication and exchange among people in Cambridge working on various aspects of reproduction. For more information click here.
The Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum held its sixth Interdisciplinary Workshop on Reproduction in the Department on Friday 12 November 2010.
Congratulations to Robert Edwards, the IVF pioneer, on the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2010. Martin Johnson, a former student of Professor Edwards, gave a lecture, ‘Bob Edwards and IVF: The early days’, at a symposium in his honour at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Watch the video here.
Congratulations to Simon Szreter and Kate Fisher on the publication of Sex Before the Sexual Revolution: Intimate Life in England, 1918–1963 by Cambridge University Press. The book is based on extensive oral histories and is rich in policy implications.
Cambridge historians of medicine and biology are using a Wellcome strategic award to take a concerted approach to the history of reproduction. The cross-disciplinary group of researchers will offer fresh perspectives on issues ranging from ancient fertility rites to IVF. Building on a lively field of historical investigation, this will provide a fresh basis for policy and public debate.