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Bodies Through Time: Student Reflections on Biocultural Health and Disease Research with Primary Documents


  • Madeleine Mant University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Judy Chau University of Toronto
  • Bryce Hull University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Maryam Khan University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Mollie Sheptenko University of Toronto
  • Mia Taranissi University of Toronto



Incorporating primary documents into undergraduate teaching and research can provide opportunities for students to develop research skills and explore voices from the past. In this piece, I highlight the experiences of five undergraduate students who experienced working with primary documents for the first time. Their natural inductive inquiry while exploring a set of 18th-century hospital admission records will form the foundation of future research projects, while developing broader critical thinking skills. Biocultural investigations of historic health can be brought into contemporary classrooms through the use of primary documents.






Developing Teaching: Reports and Reflections