Working Group History of Medicine/Medical Humanities

Aerial photograph from 1935 of the Art Nouveau extension building (erected in 1908) of Vienna General Hospital.   © Picture Library, Josephinum, Medical University of Vienna

Structures and Networks – Medicine und Medical Sciences in Vienna 1945–2004

Based on the results of the project completed in 2018, “Structures and Networks of Vien­nese Medicine 1848–1955 – scientific, politico-economic, social and cultural structures in the context of international change processes”, the new main topic of the inter­disciplinary working group will be medicine and science in Vienna from 1945 until 2004, i.e. until the public universities in Austria gained independence as legal entities under public law, a process which was accompanied by the formation of their own medical universities. The topic deals with the "structures and networks" within the defined period, taking account of the continuities and discontinuities in this research landscape in the context of inter­national change processes. There are currently only a few individual studies available and, hence, a huge increase in knowledge is to be expected.

By presenting the complex relationships between the individual players and their sur­roundings, as well as between the institutions of medicine and the associated professional policies and academies, regional, European and intercontinental networks will be traced back in a first step. A second step will involve identifying the implications of these net­works on re­search, education, career paths and medical practice. Finally, the inter­relationships with politics, international scientific relations, developments in research and teaching, law and ethics, as well as the influence of medicine on arts and culture are addressed.

Medical Humanities, describing the influence of medicine on culture and the arts and vice versa, will represent a further field of research of the working group. This discipline extends the view of medicine beyond its purely scientific nature, especially to­wards the culturally oriented approach to illness and death. Me­di­cal Humanities not only provides a research field for scientific participation of all five working groups of the Commission for the History and Philosophy of Sciences, but– in the medium to long-term – should be worthy of integration into medical research and teaching.

Principal Investigators:

Wolfgang SCHÜTZ

Scientific Advisory Board:

Helmut Denk, w.M.
Christiane Druml
Dietrich von Engelhardt
Heiner Fangerau
Hans-Georg Hofer
Brigitte Lohff
Paul Weindling

Project Team:

Afsaneh Gächter
Franz Kainberger
Franz X. Lackner
Jakob Lehne
Birgit Nemec
Katrin Pilz
Georg Vasold

Other Members of the Working Group:

Daniela Angetter
Herwig Czech
Silke Fengler
Patrizia Giampieri-Deutsch, w.M.
Eva Hallama
Andreas Hassl
Monika Himmelbauer
Tomoyo Kaba
Andrea Korenjak
Susanne Krejsa MacManus
Bernhard Leitner
Gabriele Melischek
Michael Memmer
Johannes Miholic
Monika Pietrzak-Franger
Herbert Posch
Andrea Praschinger
Barbara Putz-Plecko
Ilse Reiter-Zatloukal
Ursula Rokitansky
Julia Rüdiger
Katharina Sabernig
Barbara Sauer
Carlos Watzka

National Cooperations

Josephinum – Collections, Ethics and History of Medicine, Medical Uni­versity of Vienna:
Medical University of Vienna:
University of Vienna:
Medical University of Graz:
Institut für Wissenschaft und Kunst:


Daniela Angetter, Birgit Nemec, Herbert Posch, Christiane Druml, Paul Weindling (Hg.), Strukturen und Netzwerke – Medizin in Wien 1848–1955 (Göttingen: Vienna Uni­versity Press / V & R unipress 2018).
Rezension Wr. Geschichtsblätter

Selected publications of members of the scientific advisary board and other project team members:

Afsaneh Gächter, Der Leibarzt des Schah. Jacob E. Polak 1818-1891. Eine west-östliche Lebensgeschichte (Wien: new academic press 2019).

Afsaneh Gächter, Transfer of Knowledge in Urology: A Case Study of Jacob Eduard Polak (1818-1891) and the Introduction of Contemporary Techniques of lithotomy and Lithotrity from Vienna to Persia in the Mid-19th-Century - a New Analysis of Scientific Papers from the 19th Century, in: World Journal for Urology:

Brigitte Lohff, Die Josephs-Akademie im Wiener Josephinum. Die medizinisch-chirurgische Militärakademie im Spannungsfeld von Wissenschaft und Politik 1785-1874. Böhlau: Wien 2019.

Susanne Krejsa MacManus, Penicillin aus Urin, Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung, 160. Jahrgang, Nr. 21 (21.05.2020), 71-74

Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift. The Central European Journal of Medicine
132. Jahrgang 2020, Supplement 1
Interactions between Medicine and the Arts. International Conference of the Medical University and Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Commission for History and Philosophy of Sciences), held in Vienna on 11th and 12th October 2019.
Journal Editors: Wolfgang Schütz, Katrin Pilz


Kommission für Geschichte und Philosophie der Wissenschaften
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
1010 Wien
Tel: +43-1-51581-3650

Events & News

Politzer 100 – Beethoven 250 – Raffael 500

16 Oktober 2020, 13.00

Interdisziplinäre Tagung
Medical Humanities und Transkulturalität im Österreichischen Gesundheitssystem und ihre Bedeutung in Zeiten der Covid-19-Pandemie

online/The date will be announced asap.

Call for Papers
COVID-19 beyond Borders: Rethinking Medical Humanities at the Frontlines

6th - 9th July 2021, University of Vienna

#CoronaAlltag: Die Macht der Bilder
Op-ed by Monika Pietrzak-Franger (University of Vienna, Working Group History of Science/Medical Humanities, Commission for the History and Philosophy of Science)

Interdisciplinary Lecture Series (Cultural Studies MA M01)
Medical Humanities: Cultures, Sciences, Media

Thursdays 6-8 pm, Anglistik Campus 8.3, 3G-EG-21 (ground flloor)