University of Calgary

Frank W. Stahnisch

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

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


(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.



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

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

Ph.D. Student

Erna Kurbegovic is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Calgary, Alberta (Canada). She is also a Research Assistant to the multi-centre SSHRC-CURA research project: “Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada.” Her recent publications include, “Children’s Health and School Medical Inspections in Winnipeg, 1900-1912” History of Intellectual Culture (forthcoming), and “Catholic Church and Eugenics, 1920-1940”, in The Proceedings of the History of Medicine Days Conference 2012 with Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Present and Previous Affiliations: Erna Kurbegovic is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is also a Research Assistant for the SSHRC-CURA research project, “Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada.” She has previously studied at both the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 

M.A. Students

Alison Bumstead, B.A.: Re-Examining the Mental Health Casualties during the British
Burma Campaign, 1942-1945 (M.A. in History)

Mrs. Alison BumsteadAlison Bumstead received a Bachelor of Nursing in 1982 (University of Calgary), and subsequently practiced cardiac, general medical, and geriatric nursing in both tertiary and community settings.  She has completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2012 at the University of Calgary, focusing on military and diplomatic history.  Since 2013, she has joined the M.A. (History) program (first as a taught Master's, now as a research student).  Current research interests and publications include topics pertaining to the social, physical, and psychological impacts of war on both combatants and civilians.

Jessica Tannenbaum, M.D.: Post-Mortem Examinations in German Concentration Camps during World War Two - An Analysis and Comparison of Archival Materials from Floessenbuerg and Dachau (M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science).

Jessica Tannenbaum, MD
She holds a Dr. med. degree in History of Medicine from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuernberg in Germany.  While researching the medical history of concentration camp Flossenbuerg she also worked as a docent in Flossenbuerg Memorial.

She has published her medical dissertation with Peter Lang Publishers in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Daniel McCormack, B.A., B.A.
: The Scottish Enlightenment and its Effects on Medical Practice and Education (M.A. in History).

                                                 Daniel McCormack holds a B.A. in History (2015) and a B.A. in Philosophy
                                                 (2017) from the University of Calgary's Faculty of Arts.  His research interests
                                                 include European Enlightenment traditions, the history of ideas, philosophy in
                                                 the Early Modern Period, as well as military and diplomatic history.


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 OramDr. Matthew Oram, Ph.D.

Matt graduated with a PhD in History of Medicine from the University of Sydney, Australia, in 2014, and has previously studied history at the Universities of New South Wales, Australia, and Canterbury, New Zealand.  His thesis was entitled "The Trials of Psychedelic Medicine: LSD Psyychotherapy, Clinical Science, and Pharmaceutical Regulation in the United States, 1949-1976" and had been supervised by Professor Stephen Robertson at the University of Sydney.  Matt's research has investigated the history of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) psychotherapy in the United States between 1949 and 1976.  He has been particularly interested in contextualizing clinical research on LSD within the changing scientific standards and regulatory frameworks for pharmaceutical research and development in the period, in order to better explain LSD's downfall as a therapeutic tool.

Matt gave papers on his research in the Research Seminar Series, Department of History, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, the 6th Biennial Meeting of the Alcohol and Drug History Society, Buffalo, New York, USA, and the History Postgraduate Conference, University of Sydney, Australia, as well as the American Association for the History of Medicine and the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine.

Preliminary findings of his research appeared as a peer-reviewed journal article: “Efficacy and Enlightenment: LSD Psychotherapy and the Drug Amendments of 1962,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 69, no. 2 (2014), pp. 221-250, and a book manuscript based on his Calgary AMS-funded PostDoc is under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press in Baltimore, MD, USA.

His research interests include History of Medicine, History of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Pharmaceutical History, History of Fascism, European History, and the History of the British Empire.

Dr. William J. Pratt, PhD

Dr. William J. PrattWill graduated with a PhD from the University of Calgary with a thesis looking at "Medicine and Obedience: Canadian Army Morale, and Surveillance in the Second World War, 1939-1945."  Before he joined UofC's graduate history program, he had been granted his Maters of Arts from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, and in 2008 he received his B.A. in History for the University of Victoria in British Columbia.  Since 2014, he has worked as a Sessional Instructor in History at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta.

Dr. Pratt's research interests include Canadian History, Military History, and the History of Psychiatry.  As an AMS PostDoctoral Fellow, he has undertaken a research project on "Veterans' Mental Health in Alberta, 1914-1945."  

His historical research has been published widely, for example in the journals Western Humanities Review, Canadian Military History, and the Calgary Papers in Military and Strategic Studies.


Past Graduate Students (UofC)

M.A. (History and Philosophy of Science)
2018 - Rogelio Velez-Mendoza: "Whithin the Common People's Grasp:" Colombian Medical Publications and their Authors, 1821-1851

Ph.D. (Community Health Sciences)
2017 - Kelsey Lucyk: A History of the Social Determinants of Health in Canada through the Lens of the Canadian Public Health Association, 1910-2010 

M.A. (History)
2015 - Paula Larsson: Circular Progress: Health and Healthcare within Albertan Indian Residential Schools, 1920-1950 

M.A. (History and Philosophy of Science)
2014 - Michel Shamy, M.D.: Acute Stroke Decision-Making in Historical and Philosophical Context, 1960 to 2014
[Dr Shamy, MA is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, ON:]

M.Sc. (Community Health Sciences)
2013 - Kelsey Lucyk: "Growing Pains:" An Historical Analysis of Population Mental Health in Kitimat, British Columbia, 1950-2010 

M.A. (History)
2010 - Christiane Grieb: Forced Labour, War Crimes and the Nazi Conspiracy in the American Concentration Camp Trial of the Mittelbau-Dora Enterprise

Past Honours Student (UofC)

B.Sc. (Neuroscience)
2013 - Ramsha Almas: The Role of Neuroimaging and Genetic Techniques in the Evolving Definitions and Diagnostics of Asperger's Syndrome and Autism, 1952-2012

Research Groups

History of Neuroscience Interest Group (HONIG)
The Calgary History of Medicine Society (CHOMS)
History and Philosophy of Science Research Group (HPS)
The Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies (CMSS)
Social Studies of Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine (C-STEMS)
Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, 2010-2015 (LAE)
History of Medicine Research Colloquium (in HOMHCP)
Mind and Brain - Public Health Perspectives (in OIPH)
Mental Health Neuroteam (in HBI)
Health Care Humanities Committee (in CSM)
The Calgary Institute for the Humanities (CIH)
Alberta Medical Foundation/Hannah Professorhip in the History of Medicine and Health Care

Past Courses (Faculty of Arts)

HTST791.20 - Conference Course in Special Topics: "Medicine and its Intersections: Historical Origins and Foundations of Western Medicine and Health Care"
HTST691.88 - Conference Course in Special Topics: "Medicine and Health Care: Historical Intersections and Foundations of Western Medicine and Health Care"
HTST639.2 - Topics in History of Science: "History of Medicine and Science from the Wilhelminian Empire to National Socialist Germany (1870-1945)"
GRST601.62 - History of Medicine and Health Care: "A Social and Cultural History of Mental Health and Psychiatry since the Classical Period"
HTST541.2 - Topics in the History of Science: "History of Madness and Psychiatry in the Western Context"
HTST493.38 - Special Topics in History: "History of Medicine and Health Care I"
HTST493.39 - Special Topics in History: "History of Medicine and Health Care II"
HTST477 - History of Science: "Topics and Themes in the History of Science: From Ancient Greece and Rome to the 20th Century"
HTST476 - History of Science: "Wonderful Life - A Cultural History of the Biomedical Sciences"
NEURO421 - Neuroscience: "History, Ethics and Society"
HTST372 - History of Science: "Ways of Knowing: Science, Technology, and Medicine in Historical Perspectives"


Edited Book

Curriculum Vitae


  • PhD magna cum laude - History of Medicine
    Free University of Berlin, 2001
  • MSc with distinction - Philosophy of Science
    University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1995


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