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Experts in: Health

BAILLARGEON, Denyse

Professeure émérite

My current research focuses on the Sainte-Justine Hospital's fundraising campaigns from the late 1920s to the present, and on how commercial advertising for over-the-counter drugs contributed to the medicalization of Quebec society between 1920 and 1970.

The first project looks both at the message developed by the hospital (and its advertising agencies) to convince the public to dig into their pockets and donate to the hospital, and the physical organization of these fundraising campaigns, to see how it evolved over the years, when and to what extent it became more professional, and the role played by volunteers (most often women) and "experts" (most often men). This research is based on two key concepts: the concept of a mixed social economy, meaning the combination of private and public funding of healthcare and welfare institutions, and that of moral regulation, meaning actions by government or groups from civil society seeking to shape new subjectivities as a way of encouraging new behaviours.

In my second project I intend to study the advertising campaigns for certain over-the-counter drugs so as to analyze how their messages concerning bodies and health and the way they represented them evolved. My initial hypothesis is that the medicalization of society is attributable not only to the doctors and the state that were in the forefront of public health campaigns, but also to the drug companies that capitalized on people's concerns about their health and well-being in marketing their products, thereby reinforcing new norms in these areas. More generally, my research seeks to highlight the connections between health concerns and the rise of consumerism, two major 20th-century cultural phenomena.

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MONNAIS, Laurence

Directrice, Professeure titulaire

I am a medical historian and specialize in Southeast Asia. I have been working for over 15 years on the development of health policy and practices from the 19th century to the present, with a particular focus in recent years on the multiple "encounters" between Western (biomedicine) and so-called alternative and traditional forms of medicine. I am a determined advocate of a multidisciplinary, transnational approach, and recently developed projects and published on medications as a social object, immigrants' health practices and the identity of Vietnamese medicine.

I have held the Canada Research Chair in Healthcare Pluralism since 2007, and I work to improve our understanding of changes in health indicators in modern societies, over-medication and rejection of vaccination, as well as the enthusiasm for alternative medicine - all behaviours that are giving rise to increasing concern but also to different interpretations, which deserve to be revisited and examined from a historical perspective.

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TOUSIGNANT, Noémi

Chercheuse invitée

Themes that animate my recent work include:

  • Scientific (in)capacity in Africa as a lived social and material reality, and in relation to global health inequalities
  • The afterlives of scientific materiality and labour in settings of economic uncertainty
  • Civic subjectivities – pertaining to duty, public service and entitlement – in relation to scientific expertise in colonial and postcolonial Africa.
  • The role of science (and its absence) in the unprotection – that is, the active production or preservation of gaps in protection – of health and, more broadly, of livelihoods and environments, particularly from toxic exposures.
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