Health Humanities Series: Georg Hofer: ‘A Critical Age? Towards a History of the Male Climacterium’

When does middle age turn into old age? How can changes, if present at all, be recognized and interpreted, and what are the consequences? Do women and men go through something similar? Does change necessarily mean crisis? Questions like these may sound far-fetched to some of us, familiar to others. Accordingly, answers vary widely – and even more in a historical perspective. This lecture focuses on the controversial issue of a male climacterium, discussing it in a broader and diachronic perspective. Tying together perspectives from medical and cultural history, I ask when and how such an idea came to play an important part in understanding health problems of men in their later life. We will see that the idea of a ‘change of life’ has a long and chequered history – and went through remarkable changes in terms of medical knowledge, context, and gender-related meanings.

Hans-Georg Hofer received a PhD in History from the University of Graz, Austria. He had postdoctoral Fellowhips and Positions in History of Medicine in Freiburg, Manchester and Bonn, where he completed his Habilitation with a study on ageing, health, and andrology. Since 2015, he is Professor of History and Philosophy of Medicine at the University of Münster, Germany. Hofer has published mainly at the intersection of contemporary and cultural history of medicine. Current research includes the history of internal medicine in the twentieth century, addressing changing concepts, scientific practices and epistemological identities.


    01 juni, 2023
    icon Aula Emma Vorlat
    Edward Van Evenstraat 4
    3000 Leuven
    Leercentrum Agora
    icon Health Humanities
    PhD postdoc ZAP