Saturday, 29 September 2012

A218 - Just call me Dr. McGiveron...

Maybe not just yet, eh. Might have been getting a bit ahead of myself.

Well, I'm now in my fourth year of studying with the OU - this one is A218 - Medicine and society in Europe 1500-1930. I'll be honest, I've read all the blurb and I don't really fancy the first half of the course - I am very much into modern history so anything ancient just does not get me going. But, I was like this a bit at the start of A200 (see earlier blog), and I am very happy to start this one. It's a Level 2 so I'm aiming high, want THE BEST MARK I can get. By that I mean that if I am really crap at this one, and have to scrape through to get a pass, then so be it. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and I'm happy to just go with it.

So, week 1 then. I've read all the preliminary material, and I even read the Roy Porter door-stop book before the course started. Trouble is I can't remember jack about it, so I'm glad that we have to read it in small bite size chunks for the course. I haven't really got much to say about what I'm reading at the moment. It's all DEAD OLD history, but it is interesting. Galen, Hippocrates, erm...Aristotle. ETC. I'm using really small post-its to mark my book, pink, yellow and green ones.  This makes it easier and also, I like mini post-its. I also like the massive A5 ones you can get, but I use those in work and it just wouldn't do to use them for uni as well, I'd get confused and wouldn't know where or who I was.

So, here are my tools. Nothing special. (Apart from the post-its.) I've not got a lot to post in this first blog to be honest. I plan on writing one a month and we'll see how we go. I don't have much time to do this sort of thing, to give you an idea, the time is now 11.19pm on a Saturday night and I've just put Porter down, took that photo and started doing this.
The only tips or anything of interest I am going to do here is list what I have read/watched before the course started. I'm not saying that these things are going to be mega-useful - it was much easier writing my A200 blog with hindsight and a distinction under my belt. This time I'm a bit blind, so I'm just going with how I'm doing it. I'll just update as I go. If you are doing A218 at the minute and have anything to add then feel free to comment below. I think sharing good practise is great, especially with the OU, sometimes it's a lonely old experience. So, please find below my list of summer reading/watching. Don't laugh, some of it is crap.


Obviously the damn Porter one - Took me ages to read but I was comforted by the knowledge that I could always batter someone to death with it should they choose to attack me on the train to work...

Bad Medicine - David Wootton: Small book (compared to the Porter one) with some cracking opinions in. I read it really quickly. Some of the vivisection parts were disturbing, but it was good to read a different perspective. Bad Medicine

Disgusting Diseases: Part of the Horrible Science series. Read this on the train in one hour - great overview, easy to read, GREAT PICTURES...Disgusting Diseases

I think that was it for books relating to this course. Over the course of the summer I also read War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy, Capital Vol. 1 - Karl Marx, The Prince - Niccolo Macchiavelli, The Rape of Nanking - Iris Chang, Groovy Greeks (Horrible Histories), The Social Contract - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Age of Empire - Eric Hobsbawm erm...I think that was it. But none of these are about medicine, so pointless really.


Now these or some of these I watched before I decided to do A218. I am a sucker for period dramas and the like, and so I would naturally watch these, but as it turns out, some of them may come in handy for this course. Or they may not. But I'll list them here anyway.

Bramwell - Late 19th century fiction - corseted women, poor London, and medical drama. EXCITING.

Casualty 1900s - This was written from real case-notes, and the people it in it were real figures such as the enigmatic Eva Luckes.

Spanish Flu The Forgotten Fallen -

This is still on iplayer (as linked) watched this last night. It was good, and again is based on true events. Not sure how relevant it will be, but it's only an hour long and it was based in Manchester, and I like the local history element to it.

Timeshift - Health before the NHS

I've only watched ten minutes of this so far, so no review but it looks really good. The link is directly to the iplayer.


Again, I have only watched one episode of this, but I really enjoyed it. No idea how relevant it is to the course, but I particularly like the presenter of this, he is very engaging.

So that's it. Nothing else to say except good luck to anyone who is doing this, and if you have any tips you'd like to share please do. I'll be doing another one of these next month with some essay/time crisis, I'd imagine, so I'm sure that will be interesting...

Hope this has been of some use.

All the links on here are just what I have Googled. I do not get paid by any of the sites, I don't own anything or want to promote anything - everything is my own opinion.

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