Research Focus

Chris Crenner's research and teaching focus on the history of medicine, chiefly American medicine from the 18th through the 20th centuries, with an emphasis on the development of scientific medical practice. He is interested in the ways that formal systems of medical knowledge, especially the biomedical sciences, are related to conventional medical practice. He has just completed a book titled Private Practice (Johns Hopkins, 2005) which investigates daily medical practice and patient-doctor interactions in the office of the eminent Boston physician, Richard Cabot. Cabot kept detailed collections of patient correspondence that reveal the dilemmas that arose for doctors and patients in negotiating the use and limitations of a new, rigorously technical medical practice. Cabot was an early convert to and later controversial public critic of a new scientific medicine, during a period of rapid change in his profession in the early twentieth century.