Global history of health organizational conference


Dr. Richard Steckel, Departments of Economics, Anthropology and History
Rank at time of award: Professor


Over the past 10 millennia human health and welfare were transformed enormously by the transition from foraging to farming; the rise of cities and complex forms of social and political organization; colonization; and industrialization.  The diversity of experience surrounding this vast sweep of time and space provides an excellent laboratory for examining the evolution of the human condition.  There has been no lack of interest among scholars or the general public wanting to understand the causes and consequences of these changes.  Quantitative information would not only satisfy an intense intellectual curiosity about human origins and the rise of civilization but contribute to understanding demographic, socio-economic, health, technological and political change as well as the outcomes of wars and other conflicts.  While considerable evidence bearing directly on these questions exists, the lack of a systematic vehicle for synthesis of that evidence has inhibited research and understanding.
Our proposal to the IPR asks for a very small financial down payment, which will be used for an organizational conference at Ohio State University that gathers scholars from around the globe to address this need for evidence and its analysis.  The goals of  this conference are to (a) begin building a global collaborative team and (b) organize an inventory of evidence that demonstrates a global project is feasible.  Going forward from (a) and (b) we anticipate a proposal of $12 to $15 million to the Wellcome Trust that will support a global project.  Our request to IPR is timely. On June 19 Richard Steckel will travel to London to make a pitch for a global project in a meeting with the following people from the Wellcome Trust:   Dr. Mark Walport -Director; Dr. Sohaila Rastan - Director of Science Funding; and Ms. Clare Matterson - Director of Medicine, Society and History.

Publication resulting from this seed grant

2013. Richard H. Steckel, Biological Measures of Economic History, Annual Review of Economics, 5 (2013), 401-23