Published by Peter Lang in 2007, The Impact of Hospitals 300-2000 (ed. Henderson, Horden and Pastore) comprised a selection of the papers delivered at two conferences (in 1999 and 2001) that were organised by the International Network for the History of Hospitals (INHH). The present volume, based on the Network’s 2009 Barcelona conference, offers a new, wide-ranging collection of papers on the theme of ‘Hospitals and Communities’. It discusses a select group of hospitals and communities, including those based in Europe and the Americas, from three main perspectives: isolation and disease, communities and the poor, and war and hospitals.
The subject of community has been researched extensively by sociologists and anthropologists, less so by historians. The 2009 conference challenged participants to consider the idea of community in relationship to the hospital and, particularly, to reflect on how historians should approach the wide range of communities that continue to be shaped by the work of these institutions. Collectively, the case studies in this volume demonstrate that navigation of the history of hospitals requires an understanding of the societies in which these institutions operated. In other words, hospital histories are not just stories about medical institutions; they offer considerable insight into the communities in which they were situated and with which they intersected.