Teaching Science through History

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Smallpox Inoculation in 18th-Century England

by Erika Remillard-Hagen

turkish-bathThis module introduces the ideas of society, credibility, and gender roles in science. We begin our discussion in 18th-century England, before Jenner's Vaccination or the field of Immunology has been introduced. Students follow the story of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, author and ambassador's wife, as she encourages an unconventional approach to the fight against smallpox. Students have the opportunity to investigate issues relating to:

  • credibility in science;
  • cultural context of scientific thought and reasoning, and
  • parallels in our case study and ongoing/current developments in science/society.

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Mary Wortley Monatgu  Wortley