South Presents Mahan Lecture 2024

Posted on March 21, 2024
Joy Washington

Renowned historian of medicine Dr. Mary E. Fissell will speak at the University of South Alabama’s Mahan Lecture on March 27 at 7 p.m. at the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Fissell is the inaugural J. Mario Molina Professor of History of Medicine in the Department of History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Fissell has significantly contributed to the discipline through her 15-year tenure as co-editor of the ‘Bulletin of the History of Medicine,’ the leading journal in the field, and her rigorous research on patients’ experiences and ordinary people’s understandings of health, healing and the body,” said Dr. Claire Cage, professor of history and director of gender studies at South. “In her lecture, she will discuss her important work on the history of reproduction and its regulation in the early modern Atlantic world."

Fissell’s scholarly work has focused on the patient’s perspective in the history of medicine; gender, sexuality and the history of the body; popular culture; and books and reading in early modern England and the Atlantic world. Her book “Vernacular Bodies” analyzed how everyday ideas about reproduction mediated large-scale social, political and religious change.

“During this talk, I will share my work on the history of reproduction in 17th century England as America,” Fissell said. “I will share how women managed their fertility centuries ago. And, what might their struggles tell us today.”

Fissell is now completing a book “Long Before Roe,” a public-facing history of abortion from antiquity to antibiotics, to be published by Basic Books in spring 2025. She is the author of scholarly articles on topics from pregnancy determination to the history of early-modern vermin.

USA’s Mahan Lecture is named after Dr. Howard F. Mahan, the founding chair of the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences. With the generous support of the University of South Alabama Foundation, the Department of History established an annual lecture in honor of Mahan’s enduring contributions to his students, colleagues, community and state.

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