Dr Andrew Wear (Emeritus)

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Andrew Wear is Reader in the History of Medicine and was formerly lecturer in the history and philosophy of science at Aberdeen University. He has research interests in early-modern medicine and colonial medicine. He edited Medicine in Society, is joint author of the Western Medical Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and authored Knowledge and Practice in English Medicine, 1550-1680 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000).



Early modern medicine and colonial medicine

I have research interests in early modern medicine and colonial medicine. I am currently writing a book on health, medicine and settlement. This is a comparative history ranging across continents and centuries, and its aim is to locate the nature and function of the discourses on health within the projects of colonial settlement and to see how they are part of the processes whereby distinct social structures in the form of settler identities are created. The result will, I hope, be a major publication that moves current work in the history of colonial medicine away from considering isolated historical episodes to seeing health and medicine not only in longue durée terms but also in terms of the practices that develop within this period of European settlement. It should also insert some theoretical insights from mainstream sociology and geography that have been surprisingly absent from the history of medicine and science. After this, I intend to return to the early modern period and to write a multi-dimensional history of the environment in England in the early modern period.


1968 BA, Sussex University
1969 MSc, Imperial College London
1973 PhD, Imperial College London
1973 Lecturer, Aberdeen University
1988 Lecturer, UCL
1993 1993 Senior Lecturer, UCL
2002 Reader, UCL

Select publications


Author with L. Conrad, M. Neve, V. Nutton and R Porter, The Western Medical Tradition (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995, reprinted 1996, 1998). I wrote the section on ‘Medicine in Early Modern Europe 1500-1700’ pp.207-361. Translated as Histoire de la Lutte Contre La Maladie (Institut Synthelabo Pour La Progres de la Connaissance, Paris, 1999).

Health and Healing in Early Modern England: Studies in Social and Intellectual History (Variorum, Aldershot, 1998).

Knowledge and Practice in English Medicine, 1550-1680 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000).

Edited books

Editor (with R.K. French and I.M. Lonie) The Medical Renaissance of the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1985 reprinted 1987).

Editor (with R. Porter) Problems and Methods in the History of Medicine (Wellcome Institute Series in the History of Medicine, London: Croom Helm, 1987).

Editor (with R.K. French) The Medical Revolution of the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989).

Editor (with Joan Pittock), Interpretation and Cultural History (Macmillan, London, 1991).

Editor (with Roger French) Medicine in an Age of Reform (Routledge, London, 1991).

Editor, Medicine in Society: Historical Essays (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992) (Reprinted 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998)

Editor (with J. Geyer-Kordesch and R.K. French) Doctors and Ethics: The Earlier Historical Setting of Professional Ethics (Rodopi, Amsterdam , 1993).

Editor of Daniel Defoe, Due Preparations for the Plague and Mere Nature Delineated, Volume 5 of the The Works of Daniel Defoe, general editors W.R. Owens and P.N. Furbank ( Pickering and Chatto, London, 2002).


‘Galen in the Renaissance', in Galen: Problems and prospects, V. Nutton (ed.), (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1981), 229-262.

‘William Harvey and the ‘Way of the Anatomists’’, History of Science, XXI, 1983, 223- 249.

‘Explorations in Renaissance Writings on the Practice of Medicine', in A. Wear, R.K. French, I.M. Lonie (eds.), The Medical Renaissance of the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1985), 118-145; 312-317.

‘Puritan Perceptions of Illness in Seventeenth Century England', in R. Porter (ed.), Patients and Practitioners (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1985), 55-99.

‘Popularised Ideas of Health and Illness in Seventeenth Century France’, Seventeenth Century French Studies, 8, 1986, 229-242.

‘Medical Practice in Late Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Century England: Continuity and Union', in R.K. French, A. Wear (eds.), The Medical Revolution of the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 294-320.

Introduction to the Everyman edition of William Harvey, The Circulation of the Blood and Other Writings (London: J.M. Dent, 1990, Revised 1993), vii-xvi.

‘Caring for the Sick Poor in St. Bartholomew Exchange: 1580-1676', in W.F. Bynum, Roy Porter (eds.), Living and Dying in London, Medical History, Supplement No. ll, 1992, 41-60.

‘Making Sense of Health and the Environment in Early Modern England' in A. Wear (ed.) Medicine in Society: Historical Essays (Cambridge University Press, 1992) pp. 119-147 and idem, `Introduction', 1-13.

‘The Popularisation of Medicine in Early Modern England' in R. Porter (ed.), The Popularisation of Medicine 1650-1850 (London, Routledge, 1992) pp 17-41.

‘Medical Ethics in Early Modern England' in A. Wear, J. Geyer-Kordesch, R.K. French (eds.), Doctors and Ethics: The Earlier Historical Setting of Professional Ethics (Rodopi Amsterdam,1993),pp. 98-130.

‘Epistemology and learned medicine in early modern England’ in D. Bates (ed.) Knowledge and the Scholarly Medical Traditions. (Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp.151-173.

‘Religious Beliefs and Medicine in Early Modern England’ in H. Marland and M. Pelling (eds) The Task of Healing . Medicine, religion and gender in England and the Netherlands (Erasmus, Rotterdam, 1996), 145-169.

‘Fear, Anxiety and the Plague in Early Modern England: ‘Religious and Medical Responses’ in J. Hinnels and R.Porter, (eds) Religion, Health and Suffering (Kegan Paul, London,1999) pp.339-363.

‘The Early Modern Debate about Foreign Drugs: Localism versus Universalism in Medicine.’ The Lancet, 354, 1999,149-151.

‘European Medicine in the Age of Colonialism’ in Peter Elmer (ed) The Healing Arts:Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1500-1800 ( Manchester University Press and the Open University, 2004.) pp.315-343.

‘Place, Health,and Disease:The Airs,Waters, Places Tradition in Early Modern England and North America’ Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies , 38, 2008, 443-465.

Laurence B. McCullough, John Caskey, Thomas R. Cole, and Andrew Wear ‘Scientific and Medical Concepts of Nature in the Modern Period in Europe and North America’ in Andrew Lustig, Baruch A. Brody and Gerald McKennie eds. Altering Nature: How Religious Traditions Assess the New Biotechnologies ( Springer,New York,2008) pp.137-198. As footnote one points out  I was the sole author of the case study on ‘Food, Animals and Plants as Pure and Impure, and the Environment as Natural and Improved in the Early Modern Period 1500-1750’, pp.143-163

‘The Discourses of Practitioners in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century  Europe’ in Robert B. Baker and Laurence B. McCullough, eds.  The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics. ( Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009). pp.379-390

‘The Prospective Colonist and Strange Environments: Advice on Health and Prosperity’ in  Karen Oslund, Niel Brimnes, Niklas Thode Jensen, and Christina Folke Ax, eds. Cultivating the Colony: Colonial States and their Environmental Legacies (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2011), pp 19-46.

'Some aspects of the relationship between religion and medicine in the early modern period', Deltos, Special issue: Private and Public Medical Traditions in Greece and the Balkans 2012: 7-12.

'Popular medicine and the new science in England: cross roads or merging lanes?' In Kaspar von Greyerz, Silvia Flubacher, Philipp Senn (eds), Wissenschaftsgeschichte und Geschichte des Wissens im Dialog. Schauplaetze der Forschung (V & R Unipress). In press.