This website was set up during my first semester as a graduate student in the University of Oklahoma’s History of Science, Technology and Medicine department. I hope it will serve as a way to keep track of the many thoughts and questions I develop over the next few years, and also as a way to come to terms with (and learn how to operate within) the increasingly digitally-driven world in which I find myself situated.
I am Caitlin Beasley, a twenty-two year old, riddled with Imposter syndrome and full of vague dreams of professional glory. I graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2016 with a Bachelors in History, and after narrowly deciding against a foray into medical school, I arrived in Norman, Oklahoma to begin my potential career as a historian in August of 2016.
My research interests are many and very much under development. I am fascinated first and foremost by the history of medicine; the human body, and the diseased body in particular, provide a canvas on which society’s fears, confusions, and insecurities become manifest. How people understand their bodies, especially during times of illness, and what they believe will (and will not) aid them can tell us about how they understand the world and their place in it.
I find nineteenth century America a particularly interesting time in which to study the relationship between people, their bodies, and the practitioners who sometimes serve as a go-between. The entrepreneurial, frontiersman attitude that pervaded the American Industrial Revolution also found adherents in the medical profession, where a “lively medical pluralism” prevailed amidst very few governmental medical regulations. At no time after the early twentieth century were American citizens allowed the vast array of medical options they enjoyed in the pre-regulatory days.