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Juniata History Professor Lectures on History of Medicine

(Posted September 7, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- David Sowell, professor of history at Juniata College and an expert on the history of medicine in Central and South America, will talk on "Quacks and Doctors: The Construction of Biomedical Authority in Mexico" at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 8 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Bookend Seminar series features afternoon lectures each month by Juniata College faculty.

In his talk, Sowell will answer the questions: Who is a quack? Who is a doctor? The answers to these questions vary from country to country and from era to era, according to Sowell. This lecture focuses upon how doctors in early 20th century Mexico influenced public perceptions of what is good medicine, and what is bad medicine. It also discusses how doctors gained the exclusive legal authority to practice medicine.

Sowell's research interests focus on the social history of Latin America, focusing mainly on labor history and the history of medicine. He has written two books exploring these topics, including "The Tale of Healer Miguel Perdomo Neira: Healing, Ideologies, and Power in the Nineteenth-Century Andes (2001)" and "The Early Colombian Labor Movement: Artisans and Politics in Bogot�¡, 1832-1919" (published in1992). He also is researching another book, "A History of Social Violence in Latin America."

Sowell joined the Juniata faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor of history. He was promoted to associate professor in 1992 and was promoted to full professor in 2001
From 1996 until 1999 Dr. Sowell served as assistant academic dean and director of international programs.

Sowell received the Junior Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1994. He earned an A.B. degree in history from Western Kentucky University in 1975, and a bachelor's degree in history from Grand Valley State College in 1976. He earned at master's degree in 1980 and a doctorate in 1986, both from the University of Florida.

He is a member of the American Historical Association, the Latin American Studies Association, the Southeastern Conference of Latin American Studies and the Conference on Latin American History.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.