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Devine, Shauna,author.
Producing Knowledge :civil War Bodies and the Development of Scientific Medicine in Nineteenth Century America.
Ph. D. -- University of Western Ontario, 2010
Ottawa :Library and Archives Canada = Bibliothèque et Archives Canada,[2013]
5 microfiches
Includes bibliographical references.
<?Pub Inc> The story of medicine during the Civil War has been repeatedly told from a variety of perspectives but it is almost never told in the context of 19th century American medicine. Narratives of the history tell of prewar French medicine and postwar German medicine but they virtually ignore the impact of the war. Yet, with the exception of a few career medical officers, all the medical practitioners of the war were civilian allopathic physicians in 1860 and 1866. In 1862 Union Surgeon General William Hammond issued Circular No. 2, requiring doctors perform autopsies in cases of professional interest as well as collect specimens for the newly formed Army Medical Museum. The circular gave physicians unprecedented access to specimens and nationalized bodies, supporting the institutionalization of scientific medicine. This study examines the medical department's systematic effort to develop institutional forms of modern science including research in hospitals, mandatory case reports and microscopic analyses for the production and transmission of knowledge. But these activities also revealed the limitations of clinical observation and autopsy and challenged traditional conceptions of disease encouraging the study of diseased structures away from the patient, paving the way for acceptance of the laboratory approach in medical study. Most importantly, this program of scientific medicine introduced a new generation of American physicians to these ideals, transcending the small elite groups that traditionally benefited from foreign travel and urban scientific societies. This study is supported by a wide range of Civil War case records, contemporary medical journals, personal correspondence and official publications of the Surgeon General's Office, in which the goal to develop scientific medicine is explicit. Analyzing patients, bodies and diseases during the war conferred a new commitment, experience and knowledge giving physicians authority and mastery of the body grounded in science: the epistemological foundation upon which wartime medicine was developed. The record of experience in the war narrative and displayed in the museum challenge the convention that American scientific medicine developed directly as a result of European influences. Medicine during the war offers insight into a largely neglected realm of physician experience and scientific development in the 19th century. Keywords: Civil War, nineteenth century, knowledge production, science, medicine, disease, laboratory, investigative medicine, clinical medicine, specialization, theories of disease, cholera, gangrene, erysipelas, dissection, pathology, microscopy, chemistry, therapeutics, bodies, death, military medicine.