Module Catalogue 2023/24

SHS8128 : Diseases in History

SHS8128 : Diseases in History

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Samiksha Sehrawat
  • Lecturer: Dr Laura Tisdall, Professor Violetta Hionidou, Dr Clare Hickman, Dr Lutz Sauerteig
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module aims to deepen students’ understanding of history of medicine by examining how
diseases have been socially and historically constructed. Seminars will introduce students in the
varied ways the various in which diseases have been perceived over different periods in history, how
epidemic and endemic diseases have shaped societies across the world. In addition, students from
medical humanities and history will be exposed to different sources and methods used to study
diseases, whether infectious, chronic, ‘fashionable’, or epidemic. This module aims to deepen the
methodological and historiographical skills of students in analysing diverse primary sources.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics may include:
Approaches to the History of Disease
Children's Diseases
Disease and the Environment
Fashionable/Unfashionable Diseases
Nervous Diseases and Neurasthenia
Occupational Diseases
Venereal Disease
Yellow Fever

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. An in depth knowledge of the history of diseases, set against the background of the main
developments in the history of medicine from antiquity to twenty first century
2. A knowledge and understanding of the historical, social and cultural embeddedness of medicine
through time, illustrated by examples chosen from different historical periods.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. The ability to appreciate and analyse processes of historical change in human responses to and
understandings of health and disease.
2. The ability to relate developments and changes in medical history to their wider historical context
and to view medicine as part of human culture and society.
3. The ability to analyse primary historical documents, records and illustrations concerning health and
disease in past and present.
4. The ability to identify and select information relevant for medico- historical research and to make
appropriate use of secondary literature.
5. Development of associated skills in research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained discussion
and appropriate presentation of the results.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion801:0080:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading401:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Seminar - Introduction to module
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:0010 2-hour seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities92:0018:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery20:301:00Essay supervision & feedback (1-2-1 drop-in meetings with supervisees)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study401:0040:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability. They encourage students to share ideas and information and develop a sense of common identity as historians before they undertake individual and more specialised advanced research projects.Seminars will also consolidate the learning progress from weekly readings by enabling students to focus on connected issues and material in greater depth. Seminars will be student-led andfac ilitated by teaching staff, and will hinge upon group discussion and debate about materials circulated in advance(for example, sets of primary source materials, articles, chapters and book extracts). In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to hold live seminar discussions online and retain timetabled slots.

Timetabled surgery slots and optional office hours meetings will allow students to receive guidance on the planning and research and writing of their essay from an individual member of staff contributing to the module supervising the essay in question. This will ensure closely guided reading and learning and constructive dialogue in assessment preparation.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A1003,500 words (including footnotes, excluding bibliography)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2M500 word essay plan
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

The written essay, 3,500 words long builds on the content introduced in the module. A formative essay plan (500 words) will ensure that the aims of the assignment are fully clarified. This assessment component aligns with knowledge and skills outcomes.

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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You may have some queries about the modules available to you. Your school office will be able to signpost you to someone who will support you with any queries.


The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.