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Health, body, and the profit motive: Medicine as a business in history

For the night owls among us in Europe, the Historians’ Workshop and the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Economics organises a two-day online international conference exploring medicine’s co-dependent relationship with business and capitalism. Commentators past and present have viewed medicine as a ‘public good’ that risks becoming inefficient or undersupplied when exposed too much to market competition. However, across different historical and regional contexts, forces of self-interest and the profit motive have consistently shaped matters pertaining to our health and body, often to a surprising degree. In a recent discussion piece in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2020), Christy Ford Chapin points to intersections where both medical historians as well as economic and business historians have, often unknowingly, made huge strides in one another’s research themes. This event aims to identify these intersections and interrogate what they mean to our understanding of medical knowledge and practice.

Plenary Speaker: Professor Pierre-Yves Donzé (Professor of Business History, Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University), author of Making Medicine a Business: X-ray Technology, Global Competition, and the Transformation of the Japanese Medical System, 1895

Please note that the event is hosted online from Tokyo; for the purpose of this events calendar date and time have been adapted to Central European Time. For more information and the call for papers (deadline 17 September) please go the conference website.