C. Bonah et al. eds., Health Education Films in the Twentieth Century, 2018

Christian Bonah, David Cantor, and Anja Laukötter (eds.), Health Education Films in the Twentieth Century, Rochester, NY: Rochester University Press, 2018,

This collective volume examines the impact and importance of the health education film in Europe and North America in the first half of the twentieth century.

During the twentieth century, film came to be seen as a revolutionary technology that could entertain, document, instruct, and transform a mass audience. In the fields of medicine and public health, doctors, educators, health advocates, and politicians were especially enthusiastic about the potential of the motion picture for communicating about health-related topics, including sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, tuberculosis, smoking, alcoholism, and contraception.

Focusing on the period from the 1910s to the 1960s, this book is the first collection to examine the history of the public health education film in Europe and North America. It explores how a variety of commercial, governmental, medical, and public health organizations in Europe and North America turned to movies to educate the public, reform their health behaviors, and manage their anxieties and hopes about health, illness, and medical and public health interventions. Moreover, by looking at categories of movies as well as individual examples, the book tackles questions of the representativeness of individual films and the relationship between the public health film and other forms of motion picture.

CONTRIBUTORS: Christian Bonah, Tim Boon, David Cantor, Ursula von Keitz, Anja Laukötter, Elizabeth Lebas, Vincent Lowy, Kirsten Ostherr, Miriam Posner, Alexandre Sumpf

Christian Bonah is a professor of the history of health and life sciences at the University of Strasbourg. David Cantor is a historian at the National Institutes of Health and the School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park. Anja Laukötter is a historian at the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin.

Published in the Rochester Studies in Medical History series with Boydoll & Brewer, 2018.

A selection of the films discussed in this book can be viewed on the companion website