| Dora B. Weiner, Professor of the Medical
Humanities and History, received her primary education in Germany and her
secondary education in Paris where she earned the baccalauréat degree.
She majored in European history at Smith College and at Columbia University
where her dissertation, under the direction of Jacques Barzun, dealt with
Ernest Renan and the cultural and intellectual history of 19th-century France.
Marriage to a physician and clinical investigator led her to focus on the
history of science and medicine, as evidenced by her books.
These include Raspail, Scientist and Reformer (1969), The Citizen-Patient in Revolutionary and Imperial Paris (1993, paperback 2002) and Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) et la médecine de l’esprit (1999, Spanish translation 2002). She also translated, edited, or co-edited From Parnassus: Essays in Honor of Jacques Barzun (1976), The Clinical Training of Doctors: An Essay of 1793 (1980), Jacques Tenon’s ‘Memoirs on Paris Hospitals’ (1997), and The World of Dr. Francisco Hernández (2002), a work that deals with a 16th-century Spanish physician and explorer and that grew out of her association with the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. She is now preparing an English edition of her book on Pinel for the series by Ashgate: The History of Medicine in Context.
The goal of her writing and teaching has been to bring the history of medicine into the mainstream: to convince colleagues, readers and students that the history of health and healing, of epidemics and hospitals, of physicians, surgeons, nurses and patients is part of social, cultural, and even of economic and political history. With this goal in mind, she has published numerous articles and reviews, in English and French, on the history of public health, the nursing profession and the politics of health in 18th and 19th-century France.
With a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and in the Department of History, she has been able to teach in the Medical School, the History Department, the Professional Schools Seminar Program and the Honors Collegium. She now offers an upper-division, two-quarter lecture course on “The Historic Roots of the Healing Arts” [Hippocrates to the Renaissance], “The Foundations of Modern Medicine” [Vesalius to the Romantic Era], a seminar on “Madness in the Enlightenment: The Care and Cure of Mental Illness” and a graduate research seminar in" The Politics of Health".
Her next major research project grows out of the enthusiastic
reception of Pinel's work in Latin America in the early 19th century.
She will be analyzing the "Image of France" that has encouraged
scientists and physicians from Argentina to Mexico, ever since the Enlightenment
and the French Revolution, to reform their medical education and practice,
their hospitals and public health according to the preceived French model.