History Seminar Series, 28 March – Professor Richard Trembath

Professor Richard Trembath will present at this week’s History Seminar (Wednesday, 11am):

A constant source of agony: 1978 – fitting chiropractic and osteopathy into the Australian health system

In the last four decades, complementary medicine (CM) has become increasingly popular in Australia as it has in much of the developed world.  Many Australians now see a chiropractor or osteopath, use acupuncture, or buy Blackmore products.  Since the 1980s several Australian universities have conferred educational respectability on selected CM disciplines by granting them degree status – from bachelor level to PhD.  Many educational and health authorities criticise such developments for treating ‘pseudo-sciences’ as equivalent to evidence-based fields like medicine or nursing.

In this presentation, I shall examine the background to the 1978 Act by which Victoria established State registration of chiropractors and osteopaths, thus ‘legitimating’ these so-called fringe practices.  I shall argue that this bold move challenged orthodox medicine and at the same time sidelined chiropractic and osteopathy, confining them – officially, at least – to narrow areas of activity.  I want to show how a modern state reacts to challenges to existing structures and beliefs within a health system.


Wednesday 28 March 2018

Time: 11am-12pm

Room Numbers:

Burwood C.205; Waurn Ponds ic3.108

Or connect via VMP ARTSED2 (36917)

Speaker Bio:

Richard is the author of several books, mostly in conjunction with colleagues.  These include All Care and Responsibility: A History of Nursing in Victoria with Donna Hellier; A Different Sort of War: Australians in Korea 1950-53; Divine Discontent – The Brotherhood of St Laurence: A History (with Colin Holden);Witnesses to War: The History of Australian Conflict Reporting (with Fay Anderson).  His most recent book is Defending Country: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Military Service Since 1945(with Noah Riseman) which was published in April 2016.

Richard’s current research interests are the history of military veterans’ organisations and the social history of contemporary medicine


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