University of Calgary

Frank W. Stahnisch

  • Professor
  • Coordinator (History) - History and Philosophy of Science

Currently Teaching

 F2024 - HTST 476 - A Cultural History of Biomedical Sciences
LEC 1TR 12:30 - 13:45
 F2024 - HTST 493.38 - Intermediate Topics in History (Hist Medicine & Hlth Care I)
LEC 1T 17:30 - 18:20
R 17:30 - 19:25
 F2024 - HTST 493.98 - Intermediate Topics in History - Medicine (Hist Medicine & Hlth Care I)
LEC 1T 17:30 - 18:20
R 17:30 - 19:25
 W2025 - HTST 493.39 - Intermediate Topics in History (Hist Medicine & Hlth Care II)
LEC 1T 17:30 - 18:20
R 17:30 - 19:25
 W2025 - HTST 493.99 - Intermediate Topics in History - Medicine (Hist Medicine & Hlth Care II)


(AMF/Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine and Health Care)

As a historian of medicine and health care, Frank's interests span the development of experimental physiology and laboratory medicine since the late 18th century (particularly France and Germany), the historical relationship between neurology/the neurosciences and the philosophy of the mind (focus on the German-speaking countries and North America), the relationship between clinical neuroscience and public mental health (particularly Canada and the United States), the historical epistemology of the life sciences (18th to 21st centuries), and the longer history of visualization practices in medicine and health care. His current research as a Principle Investigator has been supported by research grants from SSHRC, CIHR, AvH, NSHRF, AMS, and AHRF.

Since 2015 he has succeeded Professor Malcolm Macmillan (University of Melbourne, Australia) as Editor-in-Chief of the international "Journal of the History of the Neurosciences" (with Taylor & Francis - Routledge Group).


Frank W. Stahnisch is an Editor-in-Chief of the international "Journal of the History of the Neurosciences", which is the official journal of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN) and the History Committee of the World Federation of Neurology (WFR).  This journal is a flagship journal in the wider field of the history of neuroscience, psychiatry, and public mental health.  Frank envisages his role as Editor-in-Chief, as to encourage broader scholarly uptake in the history and philosophy of neuroscience, the cultural historical exploration of neuroscientific concepts, institutions, and practices, along with the comparative aspects of neuroscientific research and clinical work in different cultural and international settings.


Endowed Professorship

Alberta Medical Foundation / Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine and Health Care

Associated Medical Services, Inc. (formerly known as the Hannah Foundation) in Toronto, ON, has also sought opportunities to expand its commitment to the History of Medicine across Canada.  This research professorship was created as a result of a long-term partnership between AMS and the University of Calgary.  With contributions from AMS and the Alberta Medical Foundation in the early 1990s, this professorship evolved to an endowed position in the history of medicine and health care in 2008.

Through the activities of this professorship, an increase in the understanding for the scope and limits of modern medicine shall be reached and its relations to the changing social and cultural contexts will be rendered more visible: «Understanding the Past in Creating the Future of Health».


Room 3E41, TRW Building


Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Stephen Pow, Ph.D.

Stephen Pow (PhD, Central European University, Budapest and Vienna, 2020) is a historian of pre-modern Europe and Asia. He has published extensively on a diverse range of related topics such as health care and disease in the Mongol Empire. He has written articles on the background role of epidemics and environmental factors in historical events, and has produced articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of medicine in diverse journals (Journal of Medical Biography, Journal of Neurology, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, etc.). He is currently adjunct professor in the history of science at St. Mary’s University in Calgary.

Stephen's postdoctoral project "The Global Challenge of Cholera in the Nineteenth Century: Standard Narratives and New Perspectives on Societal Responses and Medical Notions" brings together trends in public health, environmental, and Asian history, while strengthening new methodological insights and approaches. Cholera pandemics triggered worldwide panic in the nineteenth century. Based on historical research, the project highlights how globalization trends brought new challenges in containing cholera. Military campaigns, mass migrations, pilgrimages, and urbanization extended the pathogen’s range and devastation. Environmental disasters likewise contributed to nineteenth-century outbreaks. It also offers novel reappraisals of long-held assumptions on cholera’s history by highlighting recorded statements and policies in Europe, Persia, etc. that demonstrate some physicians believed water had a role in the transmission of cholera before John Snow's seminal publication (1854) based on the Broad Street Pump episode.

His research interests include the history of epidemics, public health, and diseases from the Medieval Period to the 19th century.



Dr. Fedir Razumenko, Ph.D.

Fedir graduated in Translation Studies and Philology (Master of Arts, Hons.) from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine), and in Culture Studies and European History (joint M.A.) from the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) and the University of Udine (Italy).  His Ph.D. in the History of Medicine and Science was awarded by the University of Saskatchewan in 2018.  Fedir's dissertation "Clinical Trials, Cancer, and the Emergence of Human Research Ethics in Canada, 1921-1980," received a University of Saskatchewan Graduate Dissertation Award (Doctoral) in the Fine Arts & Humanities.

Fedir's postdoctoral project "Cancer Clinical Trials in Canada and the Ethics of the Human Dignity Framework, 1971-1998" will examine to what degree the elaboration of ethical standards pertinent to clinical trials correlated with the increasing number of controlled clinical trials: from the promulgation of "Ethical Considerations in Research Involving Human Subjects" by the Medical Research Council of Canada to the adoption of clinical trials from a biomedical research paradigm to a patient-centred comprehensive investigation model.  Fedir has presented his research at different venues in Canada (University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Calgary) and internationally (University of Uppsala, University of Cincinnati, University of California at Los Angeles).  His publications have appeared in the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History and the Canadian Journal of History.

His research interests include the history of medicine and science and its several sub-fields: human subject research and clinical trials, cancer treatment and investigation, medical and research ethics, technology in oncology, organization of institutions for treatment and investigation, governance of medical research and its legal foundations. Geographically and temporally, Fedir's research focuses on Europe and North America since the eighteenth century.

Past Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr LoewenauDr. Aleksandra Loewenau, Ph.D.

Aleksandra graduated with a PhD in History of Medicine from Oxford Brookes University in 2012. After the successful completion of her thesis entitled: “The Impact of Nazi Medical Experiments on Polish Inmates at Dachau, Auschwitz and Ravensbrück”, Aleksandra worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant on the Wellcome Trust funded Programme Grant investigating “Disputed Bodies: Subject's Narratives of Medical Research in Europe, 1940-2001” lead by Professor Paul Weindling at Oxford Brookes University. Her input involved analyzing narratives of victims of medical crimes under National Socialism, particularly Jewish men who were subjected to X-ray sterilization experiments and surgical castration at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Aleksandra presented findings of her research at various conferences and held research fellowships at Library of Congress in Washington DC, Immigration History Research Center at University of Minnesota, Institute for Contemporary History in Munich and German Historical Institute in Warsaw. Her historical research has been published widely in journals, such as Endeavour, the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, and the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences.

Her research interests include History of Medicine, Holocaust Studies, Migration Studies, War Studies, European Studies and Gender Studies.

Dr. Matthew Oram, Ph.D.