“History of medicine and diseases” encompasses studies into the representations, knowledge and practices relating to diseases, which are comprehended as socio-cultural phenomena. They seek to comprehend the processes by which individuals and groups (including patients themselves) confer different meanings on the experience of disease and illness in different historical contexts, and how this experience influences the organization and perception of the social world. This concentration includes research into conceptions of and practices concerning specific diseases and the actions taken by medical institutions, public authorities and civil society organizations and groups with a view to controlling, preventing and treating these diseases. It also addresses the medical conceptions and interventions concerning the body and behaviors considered to be ‘unhealthy’ and ‘deviant’; the correlations between forms of low-income housing and social organization and the state of health/illness of slum dwellers; scientific knowledge and sanitation measures and policies in the field of tropical medicine in Brazil; and the relationships between health, disease and treatments amongst slave populations and Brazilians of African descent.
“History of health policies, institutions and professions” covers investigations into the knowledge and practices that configure health as a social and political phenomenon in different historical contexts. Its objective is to analyze institutional and collective ideas, actions and practices of a public and voluntary nature that are designed to aid, protect and help individuals and society from the effects of poverty and disease; the distinct conceptions of health – and the practices related to them – held by different groups in society (the state and civil society); and the relationship between biomedical theories and actions and policies in the field of health. It encompasses studies into the relationships between health, citizenship and the state; practices and conceptions in the fields of medical assistance and healthcare; actors, institutions and policies for disease prevention and control; the training of health professionals and development of health organizations; public health policies in Brazil and their correlations with international agendas; and the role of philanthropic institutions and voluntary aid organizations.
“History of biomedical sciences” involves reflecting upon the historical dimension of science, including the people and institutions associated in this specific field of social life and the socio-cognitive processes and practices involved in the production of knowledge as a collective venture. Investigations are made of the specific features of scientific work as a constitutive part of the modern world at different historical times, as well as the processes by which it was institutionalized in Brazil. This concentration encompasses research into institutions, ideas, groups, scientific biographies and trajectories; medicine, psychiatry (and other psychology-related areas); the relationships between social thinking, interpretations of Brazil, and scientific institutions and knowledge; the relationships between race, health and society; the circulation of knowledge and international relations in science; gender relations in science; scientific and intellectual conceptions of nature; and relationships between human beings and the environment.
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