Is Herriot history? Narratives of British veterinary medicine

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


This poster summarises an historical/literary analysis of James Herriot’s writing to ask two important questions about the past, present and future of veterinary medicine and veterinary education:

1. How can Herriot’s books be used historically? Are they in themselves historical sources, and if so what can we learn from them about the period in which Herriot (Alf Wight) was writing?

2. In an era where there is increasing emphasis on professional skills in veterinary education, is the image of the veterinary practitioner in a community of animals and people that Herriot portrays a helpful one? Or is the mode of practice that Herriot writes about ‘history’ in a very different sense: no longer applicable to the modern graduate and profession, and indeed even positively harmful?

The research is part of a programme to explore trans-disciplinary research methods in veterinary medicine and education. A wide range of methods and approaches are used within the field of Medical Humanities to investigate social, cultural, ethical, educational and political aspects of the practice of medicine, recognising that medicine is more than science, and medical education is more than the acquisition of an ever-expanding mass of factual data. Veterinary medicine can equally be studied in this way, and presents its own unique challenges and opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2013
EventVetEd 2013 - Dublin, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jul 201318 Jul 2013


ConferenceVetEd 2013
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Herriot
  • veterinary
  • history


Dive into the research topics of 'Is Herriot history? Narratives of British veterinary medicine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this