Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


UCL IAS Lies: 'Trust Me' - the Language of Medical Expertise and Imposture in English, 1400-1900

25 May 2018, 9:30 am–6:00 pm

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Event Information

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing & the Wellcome Collection

'Trust Me' is an interdisciplinary symposium on the long history of medical publicity. How did medical practitioners craft a language to cultivate confidence in their knowledge and abilities? We hope to trace how the assurances (and overassurances) of expertise-as expressed in mountebanks' medicine shows, print medical advertising, bedside manner, and training literature-adapted to new knowledge paradigms, media technologies, and regulatory regimes to win that trust of prospective patients and skeptical authorities. How did this language of medical publicity circulate? How was this language translated into social life and the popular imagination?

M. A. Katritzky  (Barbara Wilkes Research Fellow in Theatre Studies, Open University) will deliver the plenary lecture, 'Performing medical harangues in early modern Britain and beyond'. 

Participants will include:

  • Elma Brenner (Wellcome Collection)
  • Joe Stadolnik (UCL) 
  • Sarah Mayo (University of Georgia/UCL)
  • Genice Ngg (Singapore University of Social Sciences)
  • Alannah Tomkins (Keele University) 
  • Jeni Buckley (Warden Park Academy) 
  • Emily Senior (Birkbeck)
  • Cara Dobbing (Leicester)

Please note: the morning sessions and lunch will be held in Room G11 on the ground floor of South Wing, in the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies. The afternoon's events will be held in the Viewing Room at Wellcome Collection, on the 2nd floor next to the Wellcome Library entrance.

This symposium was organized as part of the 'Lies' research thread at the IAS by Joe Stadolnik, in partnership with Dr Elma Brenner and the Wellcome Collection. This conference is generously supported by the IAS and a conference grant from the Society for the Social History of Medicine.



wellcome collection