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Perspectives on audiences and impact

Historians interact with a variety of audiences. In the history of medicine – our focus – audiences include government committees and commissions dealing with ethical issues in biomedicine; journalists asking for historical perspectives on new discoveries as well as abuses and controversies in medicine; curators and visitors at museums; sometimes even medical researchers utilizing historical material. A particularly prominent audience for historians of medicine is in health care, students as well as practitioners. An important aim of the book is to challenge the idea that communication between researchers and their audiences is unidirectional. This is achieved by employing a media theoretical perspective to discuss how historians create audiences for academic knowledge production (‘audiencing’). The theme is opportune not least because the measurement of ‘impact’ is rapidly becoming a policy tool. The book’s 10 chapters explore the history of medicine’s relationships with its audiences, from the early twentieth century to the present. Throughout the authors discuss how historians of medicine and others have interacted with and impacted audiences. Topics include medical education, policy-making, exhibitions and museums, film and television.

medicine with its diverse interest groups, stakeholders, consumers and publics. How does ‘audience’ help us to probe the experiences of reading, viewing art or walking through a building – all activities that are relevant to the history of medicine and amenable to forms of analysis that give due weight to reception, that is, to participants’ reactions? Perhaps it is best to treat ‘audience’ as a holding term that helps scholars to open up diverse

in Communicating the history of medicine
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Audiences and stakeholders in the history of medicine

film is one example where their research may be said to have a societal ‘impact’, though often blunted for dramaturgical reasons, and sometimes made invisible because historical knowledge is seen as a commons (a resource generally available free of charge) where the crediting of authorship does not always seem necessary. In the history of medicine – our focus in this book – other audiences include government committees and commissions dealing

in Communicating the history of medicine
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Architecture, asylum and community in twentieth-century mental health care

month-long series of activities at the Dragon Café, a service user creative space in Southwark. In this chapter we explore the value and relevance of a combined academic and public engagement approach – to the Museum of the Mind and its users as well as to the history of medicine more generally. First, we consider the value of public engagement in the history of psychiatry, through discussion of the longer tradition and benefits of service user

in Communicating the history of medicine
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Practice, institutionalization and disciplinary context of history of medicine in Germany

location of history of medicine in the academic landscape varies between countries and, as we shall argue, this also has very tangible effects on the research profiles developed. In Germany, the strong institutionalization of history of medicine as part of medical school curricula directs researchers towards particular audiences, and sometimes defines impact in a manner that risks sacrificing the quality of research. However, this is not due to having

in Communicating the history of medicine
A disrupted digression on productive disorder, disorderly pleasure, allegorical properties and scatter

amazing accomplishment, but the public is largely unaware of the NLM. Even medical professionals mostly only know it through its databases (PubMed, MedlinePlus, ClinicalTrials.gov , the Visible Human Project), and not as a great historical library. 2 In 1998 I began working as curator-historian in the Exhibition Program of the NLM's History of Medicine Division. (I later shifted out of the

in Communicating the history of medicine
Teaching medical history to medical students

education was supposed to have the civic virtue needed to transcend self-interest and serve the public interest in a rational, humanitarian way. Over the course of time, the criteria for suffrage were extended. As a result, the discourse on audience – understood as judgement of fitness for citizenship – changed considerably. Until now, ‘audience’ has been a rather underdeveloped category in the history of medicine. 4

in Communicating the history of medicine
The historian’s dilemmas in a time of health-care reform

-specialists in understanding the story. The book is now being used in undergraduate courses in the history of medicine or health-care policy at several colleges and universities. Unlike a TV broadcast, which in my case led to a brief but significant rise in sales, classroom adoption may allow a book to continue selling modestly but steadily over a longer period of time – and hopefully to have an influence on students’ knowledge of, and thinking about

in Communicating the history of medicine
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Physician-publics, citizen-audiences and a half-century of health-care debates in Canada

nationalist moment. 8 By engaging with the theme of audiences for the history of medicine, this chapter highlights the prominent role of a very few physicians in the shaping of debates about Medicare's early history, ostensibly writing their books to convince the general public of their view, but very much with their own profession in mind as their implicit audience within the medical

in Communicating the history of medicine
Historiographical and research political reflections

young people from overpopulated countries would be a better solution to the challenge of a dwindling Western population will probably not find a very large audience. So, what can the history of medicine teach us about ‘audiencing’? How do we determine which challenges are truly and lastingly grand and which techno-scientific solutions will be truly and lastingly acknowledged as right? It is not the task of the historian to

in Communicating the history of medicine