Department of History
The University of Houston
524 Agnes Arnold Hall
Houston, TX 77204-3003
Faculty and Staff
- Phone: (713) 743-3119
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office: 537 Agnes Arnold Hall
James Schafer received his B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan in 1996. After working as a laboratory technician for two years, he matriculated to Johns Hopkins University, where he earned his Ph.D. in the History of Medicine in 2007. Before joining the University of Houston History Department, Schafer was a Visiting Faculty Fellow in the Great Works Symposium at Drexel University from 2007 to 2008. His research has been supported by fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Drexel University College of Medicine Archives and Special Collections.
Professor Schafer’s teaching interests include the second half of the U.S. history survey (HIST 1378/1379) and the survey of the history of American medicine (HIST 3303). He also teaches upper-level courses on epidemics in world history (HIST 3319), on race and racism in American medicine and science (HIST 3316), and on American health care and social welfare policy (HIST 3318). In addition, Schafer teaches graduate level seminars on the history of American science, medicine, and technology.
Professor Schafer is finishing a book on the social and economic history of private medical practice in early twentieth century American cities. Using Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a case study, the book identifies the market forces that influenced the office locations and career paths of doctors. Without financial incentives to locate private practices in poor neighborhoods, doctors instead clustered in central business districts and wealthy suburbs. In order to differentiate their services in a competitive medical marketplace, doctors began to limit their practices to particular specialties, thereby further restricting access to primary care in the city. These trends worsened during the early twentieth century, and demonstrate the role of economic self-interest in shaping the geography of private medical practice and the growth of medical specialization in the United States. Schafer is also working on several article manuscripts, including a manuscript on the effects of medical mobilization on the careers and business practices of American doctors during the First World War. These projects all reflect his interest in the social, political, economic history of American medicine and health care.
Schafer has given many conference papers and invited lectures including, most recently, at Drexel University (2012), Rice University (2011), and the American Association for the History of Medicine (2009).
- The Business of Private Medical Practice: Doctors, Specialization, and Urban Change in Philadelphia, 1900-1940 (under contract to Rutgers University Press).
- Book review of Doctoring the South: Southern Physicians and Everyday Medicine in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, by Steven M. Stowe. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 62, no.2 (April 2007), 258-260.