The History of Medicine sponsors regular events throughout the year, including a biweekly Colloquium, the Holmes Workshop Series, Distinguished Annual Lectures, Beaumont Medical Club Lectures, and Conferences.

If you would like to be added to our events announcements email list, please contact Kathleen Keenan

Workshops & Lectures


The Program sponsors a regular biweekly Colloquium during the fall and spring terms. Its aim is to enlarge the engagement of faculty and, especially, students with the diverse approaches and cutting-edge work of both junior and senior scholars from the United States and abroad in the history of science and medicine. The colloquium is well attended and is the site of vigorous discussion following the talks.

All colloquium, workshops and lectures are scheduled for 3:45 P.M. unless stated otherwise. 

FALL 2018

17 September

Luke Stark, Dartmouth, Department of Sociology

"Darwin's Animoji: Histories of Racialization and Emotions in Everyday Facial Recognition"

Location – Sterling Library, Lecture Hall/Memorabilia Room, 120 High Street - 3:45pm

1 October

Lisa Ruth Rand, Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

"Power, Sovereignty, and Decay in the Global Space Age"

Location - Sterling Library, Lecture Hall, Memorabilia Room, 120 High Street

15 October 

Hans Pols, The University of Sydney

"Breaking the Colonial Hypnosis: Medicine and Decolonisation in the Dutch East Indies"

Location – Fulton Room L215, 333 Cedar Street, SHM

29 October

Kathleen Murphy, California Polytechnic State University, History Department

"Searching for Goliath: Insect Collecting Through the Eighteenth-Century British Slave Trade"

Location – Sterling Library, Lecture Hall/Memorabilia Room, 120 High Street

5 November 

Claire Wendland, MD, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Departments of Anthropology and Obstetrics & Gynecology

"Slow Crisis and Struggles for Control: Maternal Death in Malawi"

Location – Fulton Room L215, 333 Cedar Street, SHM

12 November

Anna Winterbottom, PhD, McGill University, Department of History

“Before Alternative Medicine: Histories of Aloe and Neem”

Location – Fulton Room L215, 333 Cedar Street, SHM 


4 February 

Michitake Aso, University of Albany, History Department

"Medicine and International Relations in Cold War Vietnam"

Location – Sterling Library, Lecture hall/Memorabilia Room, 120 High Street

18 February - 4:30pm


Richard McKay, University of Cambridge, Department of History and Philosophy of Science

"Patient Zero, Affective Labour, and the Value of Historical Research"

Location – 333 Cedar Street, HOPE 110

25 February - 4:30pm


Alondra Nelson, Columbia University, Department of Sociology

Title of Talk – "Even a Moon Shot Needs a Flight Plan: Genetics and Ethics in the Obama Administration"

Location – Cohen Auditorium, 230 S Frontage Road

1 April  

Kyrah Daniels, Boston College, Art History and Africana Studies

"We Who Are Vulnerable Are Also Powerful: Motherhood, Birth, and Religious Healing in the Black Atlantic"

Location – Sterling Library, Lecture Hall/Memorabilia Room, 120 High Street

8 April

Britt Rusert, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Afro-American Studies

"The W.E.B. Du Bois Data Portraits: A Speculative View from Black Atlanta, c. 1900"

Location – Sterling Library, Lecture Hall/Memorabilia Room, 120 High Street

15 April - 4:30pm


Warwick Anderson, The University of Sydney, Department of History

Title of Talk – "Planetary Health? The History of a Contemporary Investigatory Enterprise" 

Location – Hope 110, 333 Cedar Street

For further information:, or (203) 432-1365

Distinguished Annual Lectures

image for warwick anderson holmes

The Frederic L. Holmes Lecture in the History of Medicine and Science

The Annual Holmes Lecture was established in early 2003 by friends, family and colleagues of Professor Frederic L. Holmes.  This free, public lecture is funded by the Section of the History of Medicine and the Beaumont Medical Club and is part of the History of Science and Medicine's Colloquium series. 

April 15, 2019 - 4:30 PM

Warwick Anderson, MD, PhD, University of Sydney

"Planetary Health? The History of a Contemporary Investigatory Enterprise."

315 Cedar Street - Hope 110  

Warwick Anderson, MD, PhD, Janet Dora Hine Professor of Politics, Governance and Ethics in the Department of History and the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney

This talk will explore the relations of twentieth-century medical geography, disease ecology, and systems and planetary thinking to emergent planetary health. It has become clear that the health of human and other animal populations is inextricably linked to the health of the planet. The concept of “Planetary Health” is increasingly used in science, philanthropy, schools of public health, and public discourse and human disease has been connected to environmental degradation and climatic conditions.

In 2018-2019, Professor Anderson is also Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair of Australian Studies in the Department of History of Science at Harvard University. The author of four prize-winning books in the history of modern science and medicine—including most recently (with Ian R. Mackay), Intolerant Bodies: A Short History of Autoimmunity (2014)—he is completing a monograph on the history of twentieth-century disease ecology.

mcgovern nelson

The John P. McGovern Lecture

February 25, 2019 - 4:30PM

Alondra Nelson, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, President of the Social Science Research Council

"Even a Moon Shot Needs a Flight Plan: Genetics and Ethics in the Obama Administration" 

In May 27, 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting US. president to visit the site of the world’s first atomic bombing, violence enacted upon Japan by the US seventy-one years prior, resulting in the death of more than 100,000 people. In a speech that day at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Obama proclaimed that “[t]he scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.” Alondra Nelson considers the politics of ethics that she argues was distinctive to the Obama administration’s approach to science and technology policy. This politics of ethics placed temporal distance between ethical missteps of science research of the past and the “moonshots” of the present, enabling claims about the centrality of federal science to national wellbeing, broadly conceived. More specifically, this lecture explores the history of the “ethical, legal and social implications” (or ELSI) approach to federal science projects, beginning with the Human Genome Project and expanding in subsequent years to other initiatives. The ELSI framing would come to pervade federal science in the US as both a mode of practice and a form of legitimation. This framing was manifest in the establishment of the Precision Medicine Initiative’s All of Us program, which acknowledged ethical lapses in science as a necessary predicate to the successful enrollment of members of U.S. minority populations in the program.

Cohen Auditorium

230 South Frontage Road Yale School of Medicine

Directions: Enter at 230 South Frontage Road. (from College or York Streets) Ask the security guard or turn right when you go through the doors, take the nearest elevator to E Level, Cohen auditorium will be ahead as you exit the elevator. 

richard mckay

Elias E. Manuelidis Memorial Lecture in the History of Medicine

The Elias E. Manuelidis Fund supports work in the history of medicine encompassing a broad emphasis on ethics and discrimination.

February 18, 2019 4:30PM

Dr. Richard A. McKay, University of Cambridge

"Patient Zero, Affective Labour, and the Value of Historical Research" 

315 Cedar Street - Hope 110 - Time 4:30pm

In this lecture, I will draw upon my experiences researching the twentieth-century history of health and disease among gay men and other men who had sex with men. I will reflect on my work on “Patient Zero,” the individual incorrectly identified and posthumously vilified as the man to introduce HIV to North America, and particularly on the process of co-authoring an interdisciplinary study on this topic published in Nature. In doing so, I will look to articulate a distinctive humanistic value for historical research acting in partnership with scientific investigation. I will also consider some of the challenges and benefits that can arise when interdisciplinary collaborations involve affective labour.

Dr. McKay is the author of the recently published book Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic (University of Chicago Press, 2017).

Holmes Workshops

The Holmes Workshop Series aims to encourage scholarly discussions of ongoing research among graduate students and faculty members at Yale working on projects related to the history of science and medicine, while fostering a sense of community spirit and collegiality among members of the Program in the History of Science and Medicine. It is named after Dr. Frederic L. Holmes, former chairman of the Program.

Holmes workshops run from 3:45-5:15 on certain Mondays throughout the fall and spring semesters (see schedule). Presenters are encouraged to pre-circulate their papers or chapters when possible.

Fall 2018

September 10

Beans Velocci, "Two By Two: Non-Human Animals and Practices of Sexual Binarization”

September 24

Megann Licskai, dissertation prospectus.

October 8

Angelica Clayton, HSS presentation.

October 22

Liana DeMarco, dissertation chapter (TBD).

November 26

Sarah Pickman, dissertation chapter (TBD).

December 3

Laurel Waycott, dissertation chapter (TBD). 

December 10

Ashanti Shih, "Searching for Balance: Settler anxiety and colonial undoing in Hawai'i, 1930s-1940s"

Spring 2019

January 28

Caitlin Kossmann, "(Re)Claiming Gaia: Science, Science Studies, and Metaphors of Connection"

February 11

Alka Mennon, chapter (TBD).

March 4

Gourav Krishna Nandi, dissertation prospectus

Beaumont Lectures

The Beaumont Medical Club was founded in 1920 by a group of Yale University School of Medicine physicians and faculty members including George Blumer, former dean, C.E.A. Winslow, renowned microbiologist and public health practitioner, and M.C. Winternitz, well-know pathologist and dean of the medical school. Although the club's first meeting was held on December 14, 1920, the club adopted its official name three months later after some discussion. The founders were interested in naming the club for a distinguished physician, choosing William Beaumont, a Connecticut native and an early pioneer in physiology in this country, as an appropriate honoree. 

The club was organized to promote the study of the history of medicine and to celebrate the contributions of physicians and medical scientists in promoting the welfare of mankind. From its inception, the Beaumont Medical Club has met on six or seven Friday evenings during the academic year in the Yale Historical Library to hear presentations by members and invited speakers. The meetings have been preceded by an informal tea and have been followed by a sherry hour and dinner for members and invited guests in the Beaumont Room almost since the beginning of the Club's history. 

Today, tea is served at 4:30 P.M. in the Beaumont Room on the second floor of the Sterling Hall of Medicine above the medical library; the presentation starts at 5 P.M. in the Fulton Room L215, 333 Cedar Street, Sterling Hall of Medicine; sherry and refreshments are served immediately following the presentation; and dinner for members and invited guests is served in the Beaumont Room from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. 

* Due to renovations in the Medical Library during Spring 2019 all talks will be held in the Fulton Room, tea is still held in the Beaumont Room.*


Mary E. Fissell, PhD, The Johns Hopkins University

"The Extraordinary Affair at Walworth: An Abortionist in Early 19th Century London"

Professor Fissell's work focuses on how ordinary people in early modern England understood health, healing, and the natural world.

333 Cedar Street - Fulton Room - SHM L215 

5:OO PM - Lecture - Fulton Room

4:30 PM  - Tea - Beaumont Room


15 February 2019 - 5:00 PM


Naomi Rogers, PhD, 
Professor of History of Medicine and History, Yale University, Section of the History of Medicine 

"Some of My Best Friends: Medicine and Anti-Semitism in Cold War America"

333 Cedar Street - Fulton Room - SHM L215 

5:OO PM - Lecture - Fulton Room

4:30 PM  - Tea - Beaumont Room

THE BEAUMONT MEDICAL CLUB Lecture Dates 2018-2019

14 September 2018

Daniel Nijensohn, MD MSc, PhD., Emeritus Chief of Neurosurgery, St. Vincent's Medical Center

"Military Medicine and Surgery during the Vietnam War"


19 October 2018

Tess Lanzarotta, PhD, Program in the History of Science and Medicine, Yale University and the Dalla Lana School of Public Heath, University of Toronto

"A Lab at the Top of the World: Transforming Tuberculosis Treatment in Cold War Alaska"

16 November 2018 

Heather Prescott, PhD, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University

"Battalion of Life: American Women's Hospitals in the First World War"


15 February 2019 - THE ROSEN LECTURE

Naomi Rogers, PhD

Yale University, Section of The History of Medicine and Science

Title: "Some of My Best Friends: Medicine and Anti-Semitism in Cold War America"


Mary E. Fissell, PhD, Institute for the History of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University

"The Extraordinary Affair at Walworth: An Abortionist in Early 19th Century London"

History, Humanities, and Health (HHH) Interest Group

The mission of HHH is to explore the political, social, and humanistic dimensions of medicine through a historical lens. Topics include, but are not limited to race and health disparities, the history of bioethics and medical experimentation, health activism, and psychiatry and sexuality. This interdisciplinary group is open to medical students, residents, historians, and anyone interested in the history of medicine.

Readings are pre-circulated.


Disability Studies Working Group

The Disability Studies Working Group offers a safe and welcoming space for students and faculty to discuss books and articles, read one another's papers, and exchange ideas about disability issues across all academic disciplines and in current events. Our monthly meetings center around a published reading or paper-in-progress, encouraging collegial exchange and scholarly development in this rapidly expanding field.  All are welcomed! 

Race, Science, & Social Justice

A History of Science and Medicine (HSHM) Lecture Series

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost of Yale University

Historians of science and medicine have long addressed how cultures of expertise shape the ideas and practices that are central to issues of race and social justice. This new speaker series, began in April 2016 showcased emerging scholars whose work brings an interdisciplinary perspective to the politics of knowledge and healing.  

Each invited speaker will deliver a high-profile public lecture and will participate in workshops with undergraduate, graduate, and medical students focused on bringing recent campus activism into the classroom to help teach history, science, and medicine alike.