A free online conference organised by the Historians’ Workshop, the Political Economy Tokyo Seminar (PoETS), and the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Economics, to be held live via Zoom. Please register via this link.

Friday 19 – Saturday 20 November 2021, 5~9:45pm (Japan Standard Time)

This conference explores medicine’s co-dependent relationship with business and capitalism. Commentators past and present have viewed medicine as a ‘public good’ that risks becoming inefficient or undersupplied when exposed too much to market competition. However, across different historical and regional contexts, forces of self-interest and the profit motive have consistently shaped matters pertaining to our health and body, often to a surprising degree. In a recent discussion piece in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2020), Christy Ford Chapin points to intersections where both medical historians as well as economic and business historians have, often unknowingly, made huge strides in one another’s research themes. This two-day event aims to identify these intersections and interrogate what they mean to our understanding of medical knowledge and practice. 

The Historians’ Workshop is proud to host this English-language symposium at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Economics. We will take registrations until 17 November 2021 via this link.

Dates: Friday 19 – Saturday 20 November, 5-9:45pm (JST)
Deadline for Registration: 17 November 2021
Registration Link: https://forms.gle/cfofof7MU6iCp6yVA
Location: Online (Zoom)
Language: English
Participation: Free
Full Programme: link
Twitter Hashtag: #HealthBodyProfitMotive2021

If you have any questions, please email Ryosuke Yokoe at medicine.as.business.2021@gmail.com

Conference Programme

DAY 1 – Friday 19 November 2021

17:00 – Introduction by Ryosuke Yokoe (15 min)

17:15 – Panel 1 – Marketing, Retail, and Consumerism (90 min)

Lucas Richert (University of Wisconsin-Madison) – ‘Conscientious Guardian’ vs ‘Commercialized Jungle’: Pharmacists and Pharmacy Design in the Postwar United States

Elsa Richardson (University of Strathclyde)- Edwardian Wellness: Eustace H. Miles and the First Health Food Empire

Jinghong Zhang (University of California Santa Cruz) – The Boom of the Dental Market: State Capitalism and the Development of Dentistry in China, 1978-2021

18:45 – Break (15 min)

19:00 – Panel 2 – Special Panel: Business, the Profit Motive, and Health Policy in Postwar Britain (90 min)

Sally Sheard (University of Liverpool) – Economists, Politicians and the Creation of a New Political Economy of Health

Philip Begley (University of Liverpool) – Management Consultants and Britain’s National Health Service

Paul Atkinson (University of Liverpool) – The Politics of Medicines: Where Pharma Meets the Regulator

20:30 – Break (15 min)

20:45 – Plenary Presentation (60 min)

Pierre-Yves Donzé (Osaka University) – Capitalism and Global Health in Modern History

21:45 – End of Day 1


DAY 2 – Saturday 20 November 2021

17:00 – Panel 3 – Pharmacists and the Pharmaceutical Industry (90 min)

Hoi-Eun Kim (Texas A&M University) – Adulterated Intermediaries: Peddlers, Pharmacists, and the Patent Medicine Industry in Colonial Korea (1910–1945)

Carsten Timmermann (University of Manchester) – Commerce and Chemotherapy: Cancer and the Pharmaceutical Industry

Reiko Kanazawa (Nagoya University) – Pricing Retrovir: Shifting the Dialogue on Drug Access from Safety to Cost in the First Successful AIDS Treatment (1987-1991)

18:30 – Break (15 min)

18:45 – Panel 4 – Capitalism and its Discontents (90 min)

Edoardo Pierini (University of Geneva) – The Medicalization of Life and the Roots of Good Health as a Business

Paloma Fernández Pérez (University of Barcelona) – Traditional Values in a Capitalist World: the Physicians Union (Sindicat de Metges) of Catalonia, 1920-1936

Max Hodgson (University of Warwick) – ‘Competing for Health’: Prison Earning Schemes, Power Relations, and Inmate Health in Britain, 1929-1948

20:15 – Break (15 min)

20:30 – Concluding Thoughts by Daiji Kawaguchi (University of Tokyo) & Discussion with Pierre-Yves Donzé (45 min)

21:15 – Virtual Wine Reception on Wonder.me (only accessible via internet browser)

Featured Image – Jos van Brée (1860), ‘interior of a pharmacy, with four figures’, oil painting, Wellcome Collection