Harvard-Milton Project award: “Exams, Disputes and Dissertations: The Making of Medical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.”

May 28, 2018

How did early modern scholars work together to generate and publish new medical knowledge? This project examines an important bibliographic discovery: a set of 176 treatises, pamphlets, dissertations and disputations written by the renowned physician and professor of anatomy Daniel Sennert (Wrocław 1572–Wittenberg 1637) in collaboration with 488 different co-authors, most of them his supervised doctoral students. Our project analyzes and contextualizes this trove of unstudied materials for what it reveals about academic collaboration in the seventeenth century. We will work to identify the student co-authors of Sennert’s theses—a cohort of more than four-hundred medical doctors in training who often went on to practice and teach medicine all over Europe-- and we will examine the surviving academic exercises like disputations and theses for signs of intellectual and practical collaboration between Sennert and his students as they discussed major medical themes such as "Fever," or "Healing." We will also examine the effect that this academic experience had on the later professional life of Sennert’s students, by discussing their careers and the role of their doctoral theses in their later work.