Vaccination and Its Discontents: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy

Want to see what happens when two historians, a folklorist, and virologist come together to discuss vaccination? Please join us for Vaccination and Its Discontents: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy, a multidisciplinary discussion panel hosted by the Osler Library for the History of Medicine.

Monday, February 20th, 5:30-7:30PM
3rd Floor McIntyre Medical Building
3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler
Image of "vaccinating American-bound passengers on a train of the Grand Trunk Railway," by James Marvin, 1885.

“The recent smallpox epidemic in Montreal – vaccinating American-bound passengers on a train of the Grand Trunk Railway,” James Marvin, 1885. Osler Library Prints Collection.

The panel will include:

“Bestiality in a Time of Smallpox: Dr. Jenner and the Modern Chimera,” Rob Boddice, PhD FRHistS (Freie Universität Berlin), Historian of Medicine, Science and Emotions

‘The grease taken from the heels of horses: Collective Memory and Collective Silencing in the History of Vaccination Controversy,” Cynthia Tang, MSc MA (McGill University), PhD student in the History of Medicine

“Vaccination: Legend, Rumour, and Alternative Facts Throughout History,”
Andrea Kitta, PhD (East Carolina University), Folklorist specializing in medicine, belief and the supernatural

“Should vaccination against measles and other infectious agents if proven safe be compulsory?,”
Mark Wainberg, PhD OC OQ FRSC (McGill University), Director of the McGill University AIDS Centre

This panel is being held in promotion of the Osler Library’s current exhibition, Vaccination: Fame, Fear and Controversy, 1798-1998, to explore some of the historical and contemporary cases of resistance to vaccination. Vaccination and Its Discontents: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy will aim at analysing the character of the fears and doubts of anti-vaccinists, and the successes and failures of vaccination’s proponents in addressing the concerns of their opponents. The contemporary rhetoric surrounding vaccination is implicitly connected to, and draws upon, two centuries of rehearsal. Recognising the essential structure of anti-vaccinist arguments in particular may provide new ways to address them. The panel works towards novel approaches to vaccination controversies, opening up new possibilities for contending with vaccine hesitancy in our own times.

 

Please join us in this discussion, followed by a wine & cheese reception.

 

Relevant reading: 
Andrea Kitta and Daniel Goldberg, “The Significance of Folklore for Vaccine Policy: Discarding the Deficit Model,” Critical Public Health (2016).
Rob Boddice, “Vaccination, Fear and Historical Relevance,” History Compass (2016).
Mark Wainberg, PhD OC OQ FRSC (McGill University) Director of the McGill University AIDS Centre

The exhibit, Vaccination: Fame, Fear and Controversy, 1798-1998, is open to the public during library hours, Monday-Friday, 9:00-5:00 and runs through the end of April 2017.

Both the exhibit and the speaker panel are co-sponsored by the McGill Faculty of Medicine and the Freie Universität Berlin.

Vernissage for new exhibition, Vaccination: Fear, Fame and Controversy, 1798-1998

Since its earliest days, vaccination has been attended by hesitation, resistance and controversy. Why did an innovation that promised to rid the world of the terrible scourge of smallpox inspire such enduring fear? When Jenner spearheaded the promotion of vaccination at the turn of the nineteenth century, he predicted the end of a disease that had taken 60 million lives in the eighteenth century alone. He was right, but it took until 1980 before the World Health Organization could proclaim “smallpox zero”. This exhibition explores the tension between the promised public-health benefits of vaccination and the reasons why resistance checked its acceptance. It seeks to understand the origins of vaccine hesitancy through various cases, both local and global, and demonstrates the legacy of those cases in contemporary vaccination debates. vffcredhighres

Please join us for a vernissage with wine and cheese for this exhibition, Wednesday, February 1st, 2017, at the Osler Library, 4:30-6:30PM.

Blood of the Vampire at the Osler Library

 

Poster Vampire

Please join us for a film screening Tuesday, March 8th, of the almost-cult classic BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE (1958), held in conjunction with our latest exhibition, Knowing Blood: Medical Observations, Fluid Meanings.

From Wikipedia:

Transylvania in the 19th century. A young doctor John Pierre (Vincent Ball) and his fiancee Madeleine Duval (Barbara Shelley) are terrorized by Dr. Callistratus (Donald Wolfit) who was executed but has returned to life with a heart transplant. Along with his mute and hunchback assistant Carl (Victor Maddern), who is now fallen in love with Madeleine, the ‘anemic’ mad scientist, believed to be a vampire, conducts blood deficiency research on the inmates of a prison hospital for the criminally insane to sustain his return to life.

 

Health Art Exhibition: accepting submissions

“Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.” – Hippocrates

pastedImageHealth and illness are universal experiences that can be frightening and disorienting, yet also have the potential to inspire, transform, and heal. Out of this, there arises a need to express, make sense of, and derive personal meaning from what has been experienced. One of these ways is through art.

Artwork is currently being accepted for the Health Art Exhibition, which will be taking place  winter 2016 at the MUHC Glen site hospital, with specific dates to be announced! To submit artwork for the exhibit: https://goo.gl/e6cE9C

Deadline for submissions: Friday, February 5, 2016. 

For questions and further details, please contact 2015health.art@gmail.com.

https://healthartexhibition.wordpress.com/

 

New exhibition: Knowing blood / Sang sens

Knowing BloodKnowing Blood: Medical Observations, Fluid Meanings

This exhibition is about observations, meanings, and understandings of blood from the late 15th to the mid-20th century. Blood has long been a powerful and evocative symbol, signifying themes from life, identity, community and kinship to sex, lineage, violence and death. Practices of observing blood in experiment, diagnosis, and therapy have also varied widely: a melange of cells seen under a microscope, a pulse felt by a trained touch, the taste of blood from a barber-surgeon’s bowl, a map comparing hematological and racial groups. Modern Western medicine has known not one but many kinds of blood.

Knowing Blood queries how various practices of observation have encountered the multifarious meanings of blood and negotiated new medical knowledge. The objects, texts, and images displayed here are drawn from the collections of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, the Humanities and Social Sciences and Schulich Libraries, the Maude Abbott Medical Museum, and le Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal. Five thematic cases highlight different historical approaches to observation, their relation to changing systems of medical practice and to blood’s broader meanings. We invite you to explore this rich 400-year history of knowing and observing the most vital of bodily fluids.

Sang sensSang sens : observations médicales, interprétations fluides

Cette exposition porte sur l’observation, la signification et les représentations du sang de la fin du XVe au milieu du XXe siècle. Évoquant des thèmes de vie, d’identité, de communauté et de parenté, mais aussi de sexe, de génétique, de violence et de mort, le sang constitue depuis des siècles un symbole puissant. Les pratiques d’observation du sang dans les contextes expérimental, diagnostic et thérapeutique ont par ailleurs largement varié; depuis un mélange de cellules aperçu sous un microscope à un pouls tâté minutieusement, en passant par une certaine odeur détectée après une saignée ou encore une carte du monde comparant divers groupes hématologiques et raciaux. La médecine occidentale contemporaine a ainsi connu non pas un mais bien plusieurs types de sang.

Sang sens interroge les croisements multiples entre ces diverses pratiques d’observation et d’interprétation ayant contribué à la mise en place de nouveaux savoirs médicaux. Les objets, textes et images ici exposés sont tirés des collections de la bibliothèque Osler d’histoire de la médecine, de la bibliothèque des sciences humaines et sociales et de la bibliothèque Schulich, du Musée médical Maude Abbott, et du Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal. Cinq vitrines thématiques mettent en évidence différentes facettes historiques de l’observation ainsi que leur relation avec les systèmes de la pratique médicale et les significations variées du sang dans divers discours. Nous vous invitons à découvrir cette histoire riche de 400 ans au sein de laquelle a été imaginé et montré le plus vital des fluides corporels.


The vernissage will be held on January 27th at 6PM and is open to all / Le vernissage aura lieu le 27 janvier à 18h et est ouvert a tous.

The exhibition is accessible during library opening hours, Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM/ L’exposition est accessible pendant les heures d’ouverture de la bibliothèque, lundi à vendredi, 9h-17h.

Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University, McIntyre Medical Building, 3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler 

 

 

Upcoming talk: Charms in late medieval English medicine

We are pleased to announce that one of our Edward H. Bensley Osler Library Research Travel Grant winners, Dr. Elma Brenner, will be speaking at the library on Wednesday, 20 January. Dr. Brenner, subject specialist in medieval and early modern medicine at the Wellcome Library in London, will give the talk “Combating Danger: Charms in Late Medieval English Medicine.

5:00 PM, Wellcome Camera of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine. This talk is presented by McGill Medievalists.

Brenner Poster

New archival resources: D. Sclater Lewis and the history of the RVH

The library has recently finished describing a number of new accruals to the D. Sclater Lewis archival fonds (P105). Dr. Lewis was a medical graduate of McGill (MDCM 1912) and later Acting Physician-in-Chief at the Royal Victoria Hospital. The new archival documents include a draft manuscript of his 1969 Royal Victoria Hospital, 1887-1947, and substantial correspondence.

 

 

Medical Students Essay Awards 2015

Pam and Rolando Del Maestro with Steph A. Pang (holding medal), Zhuyin Xu, and Christian Dabrowski. Photo: Owen Egan.

Pam and Rolando Del Maestro with Steph A. Pang (holding medal), Zhuyin Xu, and Christian Dabrowski. Photo: Owen Egan.

We are happy to announce that the winning essays from this year’s Pam and Rolando Del Maestro William Osler Medical Students Essay Awards are now available on our website, along with reflective pieces written by the students on their research experience.

First place went to Steph A. Pang for her essay entitled, “Man and his Health Pavilion: An Architectural Reinterpretation of the Patient-Doctor Relationship.” She was mentored by Prof. Annmarie Adams of the McGill School of Architecture and the Osler’s Library’s Board of Curators. She was presented with the Osler Library Board of Curators’ Medal during the Osler Banquet hosted by the McGill Osler Society on November 4.

Second place was awarded to Zhuyin Xu for her essay, “Diffusion of Medical Innovations: Minimally Invasive Surgery in China,” written under the mentorship of Prof. Thomas Schlich of the Department of Social Studies of Medicine.

Third place went to Christian Dabrowski for his essay, “Between Commitment and Contentment: the Story of Norman Bethune in Montreal.” He was mentored by Dr. Nicholas Whitfield of the Department of Social Studies of Medicine.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!


The Pam and Rolando William Osler Medical Students Essay Contest gives undergraduate medical students the opportunity to explore any theme of interest to them in the history, social studies, sociology, ethics, and humanities of the health sciences. It also provides them with the chance to be mentored by an expert in their topic drawn from the Library’s Board of Curators or elsewhere to complete their project, and to use the rich resources of the Osler Library and other libraries at McGill.To find out more about the contest, please visit our informational page.