Health is a crucial issue in global history. As nobody escapes disease and death, healing traditions have developed in all parts of the world. This course is a fascinating exercise in which we will explore, on the one hand, the development of medical thought, concepts and ideas as well as shifting patterns of medical practices and therapeutic treatments in world history. On the other hand, we will focus on the transmissions, interactions and exchanges of healing traditions, pharmacopeia and related religious worldviews, and this over a space
stretching from Europe across Asia, from China and India to West Asia and the Americas. We will reflect on the close relationships between medical thought and the prevailing political, social, economic and cultural conditions that unavoidably shape man’s living conditions. Moreover, we will uncover that there are all-encompassing and cross-cultural parallelisms showing that civilizations and cultures are not discrete and unalterable units, but have been subjected time and again to external influences and impacts. With a true interdisciplinary and comparative approach and with due attention paid to primary sources this course aims at promoting an awareness of the historical forces that have moulded, and continue to shape, medicine in the world and that help us to reach a deeper understanding of what defines modernity. This general education course is conceived to be an interactive forum in which for some of the individual sessions a selected number of international Eastern and Western specialists in the history of medicine and medical humanities will present their innovative perspectives.