Jethro Hernandez Berrones

History major Saúl Zúñiga ’22 presented a poster titled “To Live and Birth On: Mexican Midwives’ Prosperity into Modernity” at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine, held April 21–24 in Saratoga Springs, New York. The poster is the culmination of a faculty-student research project carried out in the summer of 2021 with Associate Professor of History Jethro Hernández Berrones and a King Creativity Fund award Zúñiga used to further his archival research in Mexico City in the winter of the same year.

—May 2022

Associate Professor of History Jethro Hernández Berrones published the chapter “An Undesirable Past: Free Medical Schools and the First Doctors of the Mexican Revolution, 1910–1945” in the book Transforming Medical Education: Historical Case Studies of Teaching, Learning, and Belonging in Medicine, edited by Delia Gavrus and Susan Lamb. The chapter examines the tensions between proprietary medical schools and post-revolutionary governments. It argues that free schools offered a space between popular and state medicine for the training of working-class Mexicans who reached communities with little access to medicine decades before government-sponsored medical schools and public health institutions implemented programs to do so. Sanitation as a cultural policy to modernize the nation led government institutions to treat free schools and their graduates as germs subject to eradication. Although unsuccessful, these institutions aimed to erase the schools’ history and ban their graduates from practice. The chapter demonstrates the central role of popular actors in the regulation of medical training and practice in Mexico after the revolution. 

—May 2022

Associate Professor of History Jethro Hernández Berrones discussed his chapter “Mystic of Medicine, Modern Curandero, and ‘Improvised Doctor’: Francisco I. Madero and the Practice of Homeopathy in Rural Mexico at the Turn of the Twentieth Century” from The Gray Zones of Medicine: Healers and History in Latin America,edited by Diego Armus and Pablo F. Gomez, during the undergraduate seminar Cultures and Media of Environmental Health taught by Rebecca Earles at Rice University.

—March 2022

Associate Professor of History Jethro Hernández Berrones published the article “Plural Medicine, Medical Expertise, and Public Health in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Mexico” [十九世纪和二十世纪墨西哥的多元医学、医学专业知识和公共卫生] in the collective volume “Disease and Health in Latin American History” edited by Diego Armus and published by the University of Shanghai’s Journal of the Social History of Medicine and Health. The collection brought together both U.S. and Latin American historians who offered an overview of thematic interests and methodological approaches in the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, and the southern cone of South America. Originally written in English and translated into Mandarin, Hernández Berrones’s article examines the persistent tension between traditional and biomedical healing approaches in modern Mexico and offers the kaleidoscopic landscape of healing traditions in Mexico, including indigenous medicine, homeopathy, and spiritual healing.

—March 2022

Associate Professor of History Jethro Hernández Berrones organized a panel titled “Reproducing the Nation: Midwives, Mothers, and Citizenship across the Americas” for the American Historical Association 135th Annual Meeting, held January 6–9 in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to Hernández Berrones, the panel included scholars studying the medicalization of motherhood in 20th century Colombia and the practice and regulation of midwifery in New Mexico at the turn of the 20th century. Hernández Berrones presented a paper titled “Birthing the Children of the Revolution: The Practice of Midwifery in Mexico City, 1920–1940” where, using clinical histories written by midwives, he shows the role that gender, class, new medical knowledge, space, and patient-doctor-midwife relationships played in the birthing room during the construction of a national public health system in Mexico. 

—January 2022