Medicine and Species: One Medicine, One History?

Robert G. W. Kirk and Michael Worboys

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199546497
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Medicine and Species: One Medicine, One History?


This article surveys the present position of the animal within the history of human medicine, linking this to work in the history of veterinary medicine, and also speculates on the value of making ‘species’ a central and unifying theme of a new history of medicine. It mentions that re-conceiving medicine as a set of knowledge-practices grounded in interspecies interactions promises to reinvigorate the subject. It draws on a diverse theoretical literature ranging from ‘animal studies’ to ‘post-human’ literature in order to suggest how such an approach could allow us to re-imagine what medicine has been and still may be. This is a timely project as the medical and veterinary professions, after long debating the notion of ‘one medicine’ as ‘a common pool of knowledge in microbiology, immunology, physiology, pathology and epidemiology’, are now calling to develop the field.

Keywords: human medicine; veterinary medicine; history; species; one medicine

Article.  8427 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History

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