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Professor Emeritus

Office: A-204 Health Sciences Building

Email: jwhorton@u.washington.edu

|Publications | Courses | Curriculum Vita (PDF)

James C. Whorton, PhD, is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He holds a BS in Chemistry from Duke University (1964), and a doctorate in History of Science from the University of Wisconsin (1969).

Dr. Whorton teaches courses on the history of medicine, history of public health, history of health beliefs and behavior, and on alternative and complementary medicine. He has published articles in all these areas, in journals such as Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Pharmacy in History, Journal of Sport History, and Journal of the American Medical Association. His most recent book, The Arsenic Century: How Victorian Britain was Poisoned at Home, Work, and Play, was published by Oxford University Press in 2010. He has published four additional books: Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America, ( Oxford University Press, 2002), which has just been released in paperback; Inner Hygiene: Constipation and the Pursuit of Health in Modern Society (Oxford University Press, 2000); Crusaders for Fitness: The History of American Health Reformers (Princeton University Press, 1982); and Before Silent Spring: Pesticides and Public Health in Pre-DDT America (Princeton University Press, 1974).

Representative Publications:

  • Civilization and the colon:  Constipation as “the disease of diseases”. British Medical Journal.321: 1586-9; also published in Western Journal of Medicine. 173:  424-7. (2000)
  • “The Historical Development of Vegetarianism,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
    :supplement, 1103-9S. (1994)
  • “The Phenolphthalein Follies:  Purgation and the Pleasure Principle in the Early Twentieth Century,” Pharmacy in History, 35:  3-24. (1993)
  • “Eating to Win:  Popular Concepts of Diet, Strength, and Energy in the Early Twentieth Century,” Fit for America.  Images of Health, Sport, and the Body, 1830-1940, edited by Kathryn Grover (Amherst, MA:  University of Massachusetts Press, 1989), 86-122. (1989)
  • “Athlete’s Heart:  The Medical Debate Over Athleticism, 1870-1920.”  J. Sport Hist., 9:30-52.  Reprinted in Sport and Exercise Science.  Essays in the History of Sports Medicine, edited by Jack Berryman and Roberta Park (Urbana, IL:  University of Illinois Press, 1992), 109-136. (1982)


  • BH 417 Disease in History, Winter 2011


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