Tag: history of medicine

“The Unreasonable Indulgence of That Appetite”: Cancer as a Venereal Disease in the Nineteenth Century

Agnes Arnold-Forster In 1904 a rank and file clinician, A. T. Brand, narrated an incident in which, “a man presented himself…suffering from cancer of the…penis.” On further analysis, the tumour was “found to consist, not of penile tissue, but of uterine cervical elements.” It was then discovered, “the the man’s […]

Moral Panic and Syphilis in Jamaica

Jill Briggs In 1934 Jamaica was gripped by a moral panic. According to a well-publicized British naval report, the island was “rife” with venereal diseases, particularly syphilis. Some venereal disease experts speculated that infection rates topped eighty percent of the population and included children as young as eight. The root […]

Sex, Disease, and Fertility in History

Boyd Brogan If you’re looking for evidence about bodies in history, it doesn’t get harder than skeletons. Opening this three-day conference at the University of Cambridge on the historical relationship between sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and fertility, bioarchaeologist Charlotte Roberts argued that it is human remains, not documents, that constitute the primary record […]

Bestiality in a Time of Smallpox

Rob Boddice The news is rife with fearful accounts of disease — influenza is epidemic and measles is re-emergent — and debates about how to inoculate against them. Opponents of vaccination, meanwhile, are fanning the flames of fear. Measles, for example, is entirely preventable, but remains among us because of […]