Medical Electricity in the Dutch Republic, 1745-1789


For my master's dissertation project I traced the development of electrotherapy in eighteenth century Holland. Electricity’s medical value was by no means self-evident in the years following 1746, when the first Dutch patient was treated with it. Understandings of its effects on the body were still unclear, and judgements on the efficacy of electrotherapy varied. Nevertheless, by the end of the 1780s, a handful of authorities had emerged, whose widely-published handbooks defined a coherent theory of medical electricity, along with a body of reliable case studies to undergird it and a set of standard tools and procedures to put it into practice. Understanding how electrotherapy was transformed from a divisive miracle cure into a legitimate medical tool helps us understand how complicated, entangled knowledge (like the science of electricity) is locally materialised (put into practice). 

Publications


Medicalising Electricity in the Dutch Republic, 1745-1789


Floris Winckel

BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, vol. 137(3), 2022 Sep, pp. 60-86

Share


Follow this website


You need to create an Owlstown account to follow this website.


Sign up

Already an Owlstown member?

Log in