Preprint Articles

Swann Song: Antibiotic Regulation in British Livestock Production (1953–2006)

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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Antibiotics have played a significant yet ambivalent role in Western livestock husbandry. Mass introduced to agriculture to boost animal production and reduce feed consumption in the early 1950s, agricultural antibiotics were soon accused of selecting for bacterial resistance, causing residues and enabling bad animal welfare. The dilemma posed by agricultural antibiotic regulation persists to this day. This essay traces the history of British antibiotic regulation from 1953 to the influential 1969 Swann report. It highlights the role that individual experts using bacteriophage typing played in warning about the mass selection for bacterial resistance on farms and the response of a corporatist system, whose traditional laissez-faire arrangements struggled to cope with the risk posed by bacterial resistance. In addition to contextualizing the Swann report’s origins, the essay also discusses the report’s fate and implications for current antibiotic regulation.

Religion, Medicine, and Politics: Catholic Physicians’ Guilds in America, 1909–32

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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In 1909 the first Catholic physicians’ guild formed in New York City. By 1911 guilds could be found in Philadelphia and Boston. They acted as professional organizations as well as brotherhoods built on a set of shared religious and moral convictions. They brought moral perspectives from Catholic doctrine into critical conversation with their medical work. By 1931, enough enthusiasm existed to form the National Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Guilds (NFCPG). The creation of NFCPG marked a clear effort to insert Catholic values into America’s health care debates. Focusing on the Philadelphia and Boston guilds, and with the use of archival collections at the Boston and Philadelphia archdioceses, this article examines the origins of the guild movement. Over the first several decades of their existence the guilds became an increasingly politically savvy force in American health care as they worked to influence local, state, and federal health policies surrounding women’s health care.

Leprosy’s Untainted Child

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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In the face of an obdurate disease, the Mission to Lepers made a virtue out of “saving” children from leprosy and from paganism by separating them from their parents so that they became a source of publicity, sponsorship, and fund-raising. This policy transformed a benevolent work of mercy into a professional one, for it soon became clear that children separated from their parents did not develop leprosy. Consequently, the asylum became a site where scientific conclusions were made about the transmission of the disease, and the authority of the mission was enhanced at international medical conferences. This nascent professionalism became sufficient for the Philippines to also be persuaded to remove children from their leprosy-infected parents. In turn, Culion-based research on the observations of children ensured the authority of the American and Philippine doctors in informing decisions made by the League of Nations and later the World Health Organization.

“This Fathom-Long Body”: Bodily Materiality and Ascetic Ideology in Medieval Chinese Buddhist Scriptures C. Pierce Salguero

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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An outside observer might be excused for assuming that Buddhists, being focused on transcendence, would have little interest in investigating the body’s structure or constituent parts in any detail. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Bodies and body parts have in fact long been ubiquitous subjects of contemplation, speculation, and veneration in Buddhist circles. This article discusses representative examples of Chinese Buddhist scriptures from the medieval period that forward an ascetic ideology, with special attention to how the corporeal body is spoken about in such texts. It shows that the very Buddhist writings that were most concerned with teaching ascetics how to transcend the material world in fact focused a great deal of meticulous attention on the corporeal body and drew heavily on Indian medical concepts in forwarding that agenda.

Some Notes on Papyrus Ebers, Ancient Egyptian Treatments of Migraine, and a Crocodile on the Patient’s Head

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Thursday, March 29, 2018
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Modern literature about the history of migraine treatments often starts with an ancient Egyptian remedy said to be from Papyrus Ebers that involves crocodiles that should be wrapped around the head. A fresh look on this treatment shows the need for revision on many points, including the source of the remedy, its content and meaning, and further implications for the history of Papyrus Ebers.