The sixth and last lecture of the Swiss Seminar in the History of Medicine will take place at the University of Fribourg (Pavillon Vert, Jardin botanique, Chemin du Musée 6, 1700 Fribourg) on May 30 from 17h-18:30h.

Prof. Philipp Osten (Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf) will talk about “Omnadin: A Vaccine Against Everything.“


If you would like to participate but cannot make it in person, you can join us via zoom using the following link:


Felix Rietmann has been awarded the prize of the German professional association for the history of medicine [Förderpreis des Fachverbands Medizingeschichte e.V] 2024 for the publication “Mother-blaming revisited: Gender, cinematography, and infant research in the heyday of psychoanalysis” (History of the Human Sciences 37(2): 87-116). The prize honors "work that stands out in terms of excellence and originality and provides new impulses for the history of medicine.” The award ceremony will take place during the association’s annual meeting in June 28 in Mainz.


Workshop at Medical Humanities Chair, 5.5.-6.5.2024
Kanon: Etablieren, Abschaffen, Sinn? Ein altes Problem aus neuer transdisziplinärer Sicht

Martina King (Medical Humanities, Universität Fribourg)
Richard King (Geschichte der Philosophie, Universität Bern)

Mona Baie (Fribourg), Reinhold Bernhardt (Basel), Elisabeth Hsu (Oxford), Tom Kindt (Fribourg), Richard King (Bern), Andreas Mauz (Zürich)

Der Workshop thematisiert Kanon und Kanonizität in verschiedenen geistes- und kulturwissenschaftlichen Disziplinen: Theologie, Philosophie, Medizinethnologie, Medical Humanities und Literaturwissenschaft. Wir gehen von der Annahme aus, dass Kanones historisch im Zuge der disziplinären Ausdifferenzierung mit unterschiedlichen Graden von Notwendigkeit versehen wurden, dass dieser Prozess noch unabgeschlossen ist – und dass die Theologie hier eine Sonderposition hat, da sie in hohem Maß an einen festen Kanon und dessen Autorität gebunden ist. Historiographische und textanalytische Disziplinen kommen wohl mit weniger Kanonizität bzw. Kanon-Korpora aus und die Philosophie als systematische Disziplin mit dem Ziel gültiger Argumente (und nicht plausibler Textinterpretationen) wird möglicherweise sogar vom Geltungsanspruch eines Kanons eingeengt. Der Workshop ist eine gemeinsame Veranstaltung des Lehrstuhls für Geschichte der Philosophie der Universität Bern und des Lehrstuhls für Medical Humanities der Universität Fribourg.

The event is open to the public; please register in advance at the following addresses: oder


"Long Covid - Grenzen unseres Gesundheitssystems"
Interview with patients, GPs and Martina King, SRF podcast and Radio SRF 3, 7.4.2024, 20:03

Talk by Prof. Thomas Schlich (21 March 2024)
In the framework of the Swiss Seminar in the History of Medicine, Prof. Thomas Schlich (McGill University) will give a talk entitled
“The Best Therapeutic Option? “Elective” Interventions and the Rise of Modern Surgery (1860s-1920s)” at University of Fribourg (PER 21, Room D130, Bd de Pérolles 90, 1700 Fribourg) on 21 March 2024 from 17h-18:30h.
Online participation is possible via the following zoom link:
Zoom link
Meeting ID: 821 2782 3221
Passcode: 807825

The event is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Friday 15th March 2024, 5pm:
Alfons Labisch
The clinical ward in medical history:
spatial climax of multiple interrelations 
Room 036 'Henri Dunant' /PER 17 
Chemin du Musée 18 
1700 Fribourg

Past news

  • 2023

    New publication (December 2023)
    Martina King, Tom Kindt (Eds.): Narrative Structure and Narrative Knowing in Medicine and Science (Narratologia, De Gruyter 2023)

    We all think in the narrative mode, both in everyday life and in science; the latter, however, has only rarely been investigated by narratologists. The volume addresses this blind spot by analysing only non-fictional texts through the lens of both classical and postclassical narratology – from Aristotle to quantum physics and from nineteenth-century psychiatry to early childhood psychology. The articles examine the role that event-sequencing plays within scholarly and scientific communication at various points in history – and the diverse functions it serves such as eye witnessing, making an argument, inferencing or reasoning. Thus, they provide a new methodological framework for both literary scholars and historians of science and medicine.


    SRF interview on 23.12.2023 with Chantal Britt and Martina King about LongCovid

     New research project (PI: Prof. Martina King)
    "Narrating medical spaces in literary prose in the long 20th century"

    SNSF project funding, 2023-2027

    Project website


    The project explores forms and functions of medical spaces in literary prose from the early twentieth century to the present, contributing to our understanding of the role of literature in the ongoing process of medicalisation.

    Collaborators: PD Dr Matthias Aumüller (senior researcher) and Dr Mona Baie (doctoral student), Anna-Marie Joos (research assistant).

    With a public lecture series on the topic of ‘hospitals’; speakers are eminent writers, medical historians, ethicists, and hospital architects.

    Wednesday, 6.9. 2023 5-7pm, Pavillon vert:
    David Wagner:
    Sickrooms, corridors, hospital wards:
    on the psychogeography of the hospital in 'Life' 


    Friday, 15.3.2024, 5-7pm, Pavillon vert: 
    Alfons Labisch:
    The sickroom from the perspective of medical history:

    spatial culmination of multiple referential systems

    Further lectures by Hans Nickl (München), Samia Hurst (Genf) und Brian Hurwitz (London), detailed information soon.


    Elisabethinen, around 1900

    International Conference at the chair of Medical Humanities, 
    2.-4.11. 2023

    “Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. British and Continental Perspectives”

    (Funded by the German Research Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Centenary Fund of the University of Fribourg)

    Keynotes: David Bolt (Liverpool), Stuart Murray (Leeds), Tom Shakespeare (London), Anne Waldschmidt (Cologne); further speakers: Jenny Bergenmar (Gothenburg), Ria Cheyne (Liverpool), Harriet Cooper (Norwich), Michael Schillmeier (Exeter).

    The event is part of a series of conferences of the current network “Inclusive Philology”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and co-initiated by Klaus Birnstiel (Greifswald) and Johannes Görbert (Fribourg).  Its aim is to firmly establish literary disability studies in the German-speaking countries, in close connection with international actors.


    Evening Lecture by Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger: "Knowing and Narrating"
    Friday, 20 October 2023 | 6 pm, Pavillon Vert (Botanical Garden Fribourg)

    Awarding of the Piller family prizes for the best medical students' essays in "reflective writing"

    At the Bachelor Degree Ceremony of the Faculty of Science and Medicine on 28 October 2023, the prizes for the writing exercise in Medical Humanities were awarded byEdouard Piller (representative of the Fondation Joseph & Marie-Anne, Piller) and Dr. Johannes Görbert (Medical Humanities Team) to the students Alizée Lorenz and Stella Zimmerli.

    Photo gallery (Graduation Ceremony)


    Prize-winning essays by Alizée Lorenz „Ma santé dans le monde qui m’entoure“ and Stella Zimmerli „Keine grosse Geschichte“
  • 2022

    Workshop in German Studies:
    Intermediality, Dialogism and Concepts of 'Oeuvre' in German Avantgarde Movements

    08.10.2022, 9:00-17.45, Pavillon vert (Botanical Garden)

    Zur Veranstaltungwebseite

    Public lecture by Martina King, National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina

    13.06.2022, Halle (Saale)

    Heroes, Saints, Eugenicists: The ‘doctor’ in Nazi novels - in the context of dictatorship

    Event website

    PDF Program

    News article in „Alma&Georges“ (06.09.2022)

    Interview with Martina King

    21.03.2022, Der Bund

    Wissenschaftseuphorie und -skepsis: Martina King sieht Parallelen zwischen der Corona-Pandemie und einem Mikroben-Hype, der die Gesellschaft vor über hundert Jahren beschäftigte.

    zum Artikel

    PDF Version

    Interview with Martina King

    04.03.2022, Bieler Tagblatt

    Die Freude über die Aufhebung der Coronamassnahmen
sei verständlich, aber auch riskant, 
sagt die Seuchenhistorikerin Martina King.
 Rückblick auf eine Pandemie, die noch gar nicht zu Ende ist.

    Zum Artikel



    Meeting HSSuisse 2022

    20.05.2022 | 9.30 – 18 Uhr, Pavillon Vert (Botanischer Garten)

    This year, the annual history of science meeting for early career researchers in Switzerland is hosted by the chair for medical humanities (Martina King) and co- organized by Jasmine Lovey and Felix Rietmann. It will take place at the Pavillon Vert on Friday, May 20, 2022. To register please complete the registration form by February 15, 2022. For further information including an overview of the last meetings see:, and/or write to or


  • 2021

    Workshop „Physical Disability and Aesthetic Modernism”

    Friday, 19. November 2021 | 9 – 17 Uhr, PER 17, Raum 036

    Prof. Dr. Klaus Birnstiel, Greifswald
    Dr. Mirjam Janett, Bern
    Dr. Nils Löffelbein, Düsseldorf

    Dr. Johannes Görbert, Fribourg

    Download Flyer

    Interview with Martina King about the decrease in life expectancy caused by the Corona pandemic

    Radio SRF 4 26.10.2021

     Download audio file

    Workshop: "Literature and the periodical press in the early Vormärz period (1820–1840)"

    02.10.2021, Per17, Raum 036

    PD Dr. Katja Mellmann (Mainz / München)
    PD Dr. Madleen Podewski (Berlin)
    Julian Polberg, M.A. (Wuppertal)
    Dr. Nora Ramtke (Bochum) 

    Download Flyer



    Interview with Martina King on the history of vaccination
    Radio Bayern 2 Kultur, 2.6.2021
    Link to transcript


    Interview with Martina King: Diseases as divine punishment
    Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 6.6.2021
    Link to show


    New research project

    Dr Felix E. Rietmann (Medical Humanities) has been awarded an Ambizione Grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation for the project Raising a Well-Grown Child: Media and Material Cultures of Child Health in the Early Nineteenth Century. Situated at the intersection of media history and the history of medicine, the project explores how notions of health and illness in childhood were articulated in popular magazines and materialized in domestic, medical, and pedagogical practices in German-speaking Europe in the early nineteenth century. The project seeks to contribute to our historical understanding of the relationship between print media and medical knowledge at a time that is considered fundamental for both the emergence of the public sphere and the rise of modern medicine.



    Baby Walker advertised in Illustrirte Zeitung in 1843
    New release (october 2021)
    ‘Microbes in Modernism’
    On the literary and cultural history of an ephemeral object (1880-1930)
    The book traces the everyday cultural, aesthetic, and ethical impact of bacteriology research on the cultural epoch around 1900. It offers an integrated discursive history of the invisible, while also suggesting an alternative view of classical modernity. Its scope extends from naturalistic novels to ideological texts and includes the literary and artistic avant-garde.

    New editorial board

    KulturPoetik. Zeitschrift für kulturgeschichtliche Literaturwissenschaft /Journal for Cultural Poetics betrachtet Literatur als Teil der Gesamtkultur. Sie widmet sich daher den Wechselwirkungen der Literatur im Ensemble der Wissensformen und Kulturtechniken, ihrem Verhältnis zu anderen Medien und Künsten sowie ihrem Beitrag zur kulturellen und interkulturellen Kommunikation. Die Zeitschrift wurde im Jahr 2000 gegründet, ist interphilologisch und interdisziplinär orientiert. Sie veröffentlicht zweimal jährlich Beiträge in deutscher, französischer und englischer Sprache. Neben einem Aufsatzteil enthält jedes Heft auch die Abteilung ‚Forum‘, welche für Statements zu aktuellen Fragen und Debatten der Forschung zur Verfügung steht.
    Bis 2021 wurde KulturPoetik herausgegeben von Benjamin Specht (Fribourg), Juliane Blank (Saarbrücken), Manfred Engel (Saarbrücken), Bernard Dieterle (Mulhouse) und Monika Ritzer (Leipzig).
    Im Jahr 2021 übernahmen Martina King (Fribourg), Benjamin Specht (Fribourg), Juliane Blank (Saarbrücken) und Philip Ajouri (Mainz) die Herausgeberschaft

    Journal webpage