HHH column: ‘Welcome to History Health & Healing’ by Frank Huisman

The HHH column is a blog in which History, Health & Healing members share their thoughts: on research, current affairs, and anything to do with medical history. Each author will invite a new author to participate in the conversation. Our first edition is kicked off by chairman Frank Huisman, with a general introduction of the network.

Frank Huisman

The History Health & Healing (HHH) network is an interdisciplinary collaboration of Dutch scholars working in the domains of medical history and medical humanities. The field in which we move is broadly defined, with members doing research on the social and cultural dimensions of health, illness, and healing, or on the scientific and political dimensions of medicine and health care.

The goals of the network are:

  • offer a platform to scholars working in the fields of medical history or medical humanities
  • promote the exchange of ideas between members
  • formulate a common research agenda
  • increase visibility of the discipline, both in teaching and research
  • support graduate teaching in medical history and medical humanities
  • reflect on the value of medical history and medical humanities for society
  • promote contact between medical historians and partners in society.

Members of the network convene three times a year. While the spring meeting is devoted to a topic derived from the field of medical history, the fall meeting will be more interdisciplinary, inviting scholars from medical philosophy and anthropology to participate. The third meeting is a practical, hands-on meeting devoted to archival materials or methodology.

The network is hosted by the Huizinga Institute, the Dutch Research School for Cultural History, and supported by the Stichting Historia Medicinae and the Descartes Center for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities of Utrecht University. Membership is free and open to all Dutch and Belgian researchers and teachers working in the fields of medical history or the medical humanities, and affiliated to a medical faculty or a humanities faculty.

The network is coordinated by Prof. Gemma Blok (Open University), Dr Timo Bolt (ErasmusMC, secretary), Irene Geerts MA (Open University, webmaster), Prof. Frank Huisman (UMC Utrecht, chair) and Dr Rina Knoeff (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen).

This blog was started in the hope that we can build a lively conversation between colleagues in the field. Members of the Dutch and Belgian network take turns in writing about their own research, on a contemporary topic that concerns them, or on anything relating to the fields of medical history or the medical humanities.

After this formal introduction, I am happy to hand the pen to Joris Vandendriessche, one of the founders of Health in History, the Belgian research network on the history of knowledge, medicine, and the body.

Frank Huisman is professor in the history of medicine at the University Medical Center Utrecht, where he is also a member of the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities. He is chair of the Scientific Board of the EAHMH and series editor of Clio Medica, Studies in the history of medicine and health. Huisman has published on Dutch medicine and health care in both the early modern and the modern era, and on medical historiography. His books include Locating medical history, The stories and their meanings (with John Harley Warner), and Health and citizenship, Political cultures of health in modern Europe (with Harry Oosterhuis). He is currently working on a book on the transformation of Dutch health care between the 1860s and the 1940s.