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Research at St Andrews

Manon Williams


Research overview

Surgeons at Sea: Naval Surgeons and the Construction of Medical Bias in the British and French Worlds, 1785-1815 

Using naval medical records from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, my project examines how medical knowledge was constructed at sea among surgeons in the British and French navies. I will explore how naval surgeons’ institutional, professional, and personal experiences informed patient care and shaped medical practice. I am especially interested in the role of medical bias, including how patients were categorized based on preconceived or constructed notions of disease susceptibility. I will use a comparative approach to examine a collection of personal and professional medical journals written while journeying to and from various geographic locations around the world to compare the medical experience on board for different patient populations (e.g. convicts, seamen, officers, immigrants). This work is in conversation with scholarship on the professionalization and bureaucratization of military medicine and the influences of the military on modern, clinical medicine.

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