Public health has a long and distinguished visual record. From seventeenth-century engravings to the latest digital images, visual representations have played a critical role in educating the public about modern health crises. But what purposes do these images serve beyond their immediate role in health prevention and education? What do they tell us about the history of health care, or attitudes toward our bodies, or the world that we live in?

“Visual Culture and Public Health” is the second in a series of symposia sponsored by the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine. It will include a keynote speaker and twelve presentations representing the disciplines of history of medicine, history of science, anthropology, sociology, geography, art history, and visual and media studies.

All sessions will be held in the National Library of Medicine’s Lister Hill Auditorium, on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The symposium is free and open to the public.

Program: Thursday, October 16, 2003

1:30 – 3:30 pm Creating Institutions, Making Health Public Chair: Rob Logan, NLM

Lenore Manderson, “Image and the Imaginary in Early Health Education: Wilbur Sawyer and the Hookworm Campaigns of Australia and Asia”

Shawn Michelle Smith, “Nursing the Nation: The 1930s Public Health Nurse as Image and Icon”

Gregg Mitman, “Campaigning for Health: Visual Languages of Disease and Race in America, 1935-1964”

4:00 – 5:30 pm Keynote Address Barbara Maria Stafford, “Public Health as Public Art: The Role of Images in a Time of Epidemics”

Friday, October 17, 2003 9:30 – 11:30 am Seeing the Visible, Imagining the Invisible Chair: David Serlin, Bard College and NLM

Katherine Ott, ” ‘Wheals Which Soon Became Blebs’: Contagion, Public Health, and the Visual Culture of Nineteenth-Century Skin”

Lisa Cartwright, “Moral Spectatorship: Visual Culture and the Child Image in Postwar British and U.S. Child Psychoanalysis”

Emily Martin, “Imagining Mood Disorders as a Public Health Crisis”

1:00 – 3:00 pm Picturing Sex, Representing AIDS Chair: Paul Theerman, NLM

William Helfand, “‘Some One Sole Unique Advertisement’: The Early Twentieth-Century Public Health Poster”

Roger Cooter, ” ‘Dying on AIDS’: Visual Imagery and Epidemics in the Twentieth Century”

Paula Treichler, “Batter Up! Straight Men Play Ball with Condoms”

3:30 – 5:30 pm Mapping the Frontiers of Public Health Chair: Elizabeth Fee, NLM

Mark Monmonier, “Maps as Graphic Propaganda for Public Health”

Fritz Hasler, “Visions of Our Planet’s Atmosphere, Land, and Oceans from Space”

Nicholas King, “The Iconography of New Infectious Threats”

For on-line registration, directions to the National Library of Medicine, and other information about the symposium, please see our website at or e-mail [email protected].