This treasury is designed as a personal and professional stocktaking of the final year in the tenure of a Canada Research Chair who studies the history of medicine and health. It is “Canadian” in the best sense of the term – finding its place and its coherence in Canada, sustained by the intellectual generosity of the peoples of Canada and their great public university system, sponsored by provincial and federal levels of the Canadian state, curious about all things Canadian, while also engaged in inter-national, trans-national and global scholarship and intellectual networks. It is “medical history” in the widest sense that corresponds to the current state of our discipline: including all matters relating to health in the past, from the state of well-being of everyday people totally outside a medicalized universe, to the most exquisite forms of specialized healing practice and science in complex health institutions. It is a “treasury” because the roadbed where Canadian scholarship intersects with the history of medicine glitters with valuable artifacts, stories, ideas, people, kits and collections worthy of being arranged beside one another, evaluated, celebrated and preserved for future reference and consideration.
When I was made a Canada Research Chair in 2006, the University of Windsor showed progressive institutional largesse in the conditions and resources it put at my disposal. As great an opportunity as this has been for my development as a scholar of global health and medicine with an emphasis on North American-Latin American scientific exchange, a great responsibility also came with it: to make the most of the CRC gift to enhance the research culture of the History Department and its graduate program, to build lasting networks that will plug the department and the university into other global institutions in North America and abroad, and to build a foundation of research on the extraordinary and largely untold history of medicine and health in the Windsor, and Detroit-Windsor area. I think I’ve managed to make progress on many, perhaps even all these fronts; I want to show it over the following year in this blog that can stand as a record of those achievements, and I plan to do that by way of an annotated itinerary that logs the works and the networks as each journey is undertaken. This will, I feel confident, make up a treasury – an assortment whose particularity will become visible as its elements are gathered and arranged — and finally perhaps allow me to end this Canada Research Chair in the History of International Health by giving it a new name.