History of Medicine

Research Students

Corina-Maria Doboş (Palasan)
Sally Frampton

Corina-Maria Dobos (Palasan)

Scientific representations of the ‘body of the criminal’ in modern Romania (1859-1940)

My research focuses on the manner in which the ‘body of the delinquent’ was constructed within the medicalisation process of the juridical sphere in Romania between 1859 and 1945. By ‘body of the delinquent’, I understand a cultural artefact produced by the corresponding medico-juridical discourses, at the articulations of penitentiary sciences, criminology, psychiatry, legal medicine and eugenics in Romania. Using a methodology indebted to discourse analysis, I will explore the meanings attributed to the human body, illness, and corporeal deformities in scientific texts or in observation reports of Romanian psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors and legal experts in the aforementioned period.

Methodologically, my discourse analysis combines a quantitative exploration of the sources through serialization and statistics, with a qualitative one, a semiotic investigation that seeks to reveal and to explore the tension existing between ‘corporeal’(visible) and ‘non-corporeal’ (invisible) employed by these discourses. This key allows me to explore the interplay between symbol-sign-symptom, in the attempt to reveal the symbolic status of the ‘body of the delinquent’, as produced by the medico-juridical apparatus. The research explores the possibilities that a semiotic reading of the criminological discourse in Romania at the beginning of the 20th century opens in view of a subsequent qualitative assessment. At the same time, as it expands the area of application of medical semiotics to the juridical domain, the envisaged research hopes to contribute to a general history of symptomatology.

Having as focal point the construction of the ‘body of the delinquent’, this type of discourse  analysis reveals unexplored dimensions of the medicalisation process in modern Romania. At the same time, my research strives to discuss the usefulness of employing the tool of medical semiotics in the history of criminology.

Corina Doboş (ed.), Politica pronatalistă a regimului Ceauşescu. O perspectivă comparativă/ Pronatalist policies of Ceausescu regime in comparative perspective, Polirom, Iasi, 2010
Corina Dobos, Marius Stan (eds.), Politics of memory in post-communist Europe, Zetabooks, Bucureşti, 2010
 Corina Pălăşan, “Domesticating violence in Interwar Romania”, Understanding Violence: Contexts and Portrayals, Marika Guggisberg and David Weir, eds., Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford,  2009,  p.173-184
Corina Pălăşan, “Caracterul profund restrictiv al politicii nataliste în România comunistă, 1966-1989”/The prohibitive character of population policies in Communist Romania, in R. Ivan (ed.),  Transformarea socialistă. Politici ale regimului comunist între ideologie şi administraţie,
Corina Pălăşan, ”Organizarea ştiinţifică a societăţii sau ştiinţele sociale în primii ani ai regimului Ceauşescu, Cazul judeţului Iaşi, 1970-1972” in 2008 I.I.C.C.R  Yearbook,  Structuri de partid şi de stat în timpul regimului comunist, Polirom, Iasi, 2009

Sally Frampton

Negotiating Ovariotomy: Innovation, Intellectual Property and Operative Risk in Victorian surgery (1842 – 1895).

My thesis will bring understandings of innovation, intellectual ownership, priority disputes and risk to the historical analysis of nineteenth century surgery. My primary focus is the ovariotomy operation, which involved opening the abdomen to operate on a suspected diseased ovary. It was the first abdominal operation in Britain to become a regular part of surgical procedure, and its long and complex journey to establishment and respectability is a pertinent case study through which to investigate how surgical knowledge, practice and etiquette were constructed. The domain of surgery and of surgeons was expanding in the mid to late nineteenth century, but by no means everyone equated increased choice about when and where to operate with progress. More than any other operation, the ovariotomy raised complex questions about the fundamental aims of surgery and the objectives of the profession.

My thesis will encompass a broad range of themes, including the complicated etymology of the word 'ovariotomy' and other surgical terms; the understanding and presentation of operative risk, and the ideas of intellectual property and priority that framed ovariotomy and other surgical procedures. At the heart of all my research will be the question: what was the process through which an idea became an operation?