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Joseph M Gabriel Ph.D.

Joseph M Gabriel Ph.D.

Associate Professor
(850) 645-1542
Main Campus


Joseph M. Gabriel is a historian of medicine and the biomedical sciences. He received his PhD in History from Rutgers University and in 2006-2007 held a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship in the science studies program at the University of California, San Diego.


Ph.D., Department of History, Rutgers University (2006)
M.A., History, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1999)
B.A., Philosophy, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1992)


Pressman-Burroughs Wellcome Award from the American Association for the History of Medicine (2009)
First-Year Assistant Professor Research Grant, Florida State University. (2008))
National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California San Diego (2006-2007)
Reynolds Associate Research Fellowship, Lister Hill Library of Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Birmingham (2007)
University Graduate Excellence and Research Fellowship, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers University (2004-2005)

Research Focus

Dr. Gabriel’s research focuses on the contested relationship between scientific and technological innovation, social and cultural change, and state regulation of the market. His book, Medical Monopoly: Intellectual Property Rights and the Origins of the Modern Pharmaceutical Industry (University of Chicago Press, 2014), describes how the use of patents and trademarks by drug manufacturers became scientifically and ethically legitimate over the course of the long nineteenth century. Before the Civil War, physicians, pharmacists, and reputable drug manufacturers all considered the use of patents and trademarks on pharmaceuticals to be an unethical and unscientific form of quackery. Physicians, for example, could be driven out of their profession for prescribing patented goods, and reputable drug manufacturers almost always refrained from using patents or trademarks to protect their interests. By the early twentieth-century, however, intellectual property rights had been reconceptualized as an important means of promoting corporate investment in the drug development process; at the same time, the use of patented and trademarked goods had been rendered ethically legitimate within both the pharmacy and medical communities. These changes underlay the rapid growth of the pharmaceutical industry during the twentieth-century. They also transformed the practice of medicine and pharmacy by directly linking the care of patients to the goal of industry profits. We continue to live with the consequences of these complex changes to this day.

In addition to a second volume on the history of intellectual property rights and the pharmaceutical industry that focuses on the twentieth-century, Dr. Gabriel is also writing a book on drug addiction, the early history of narcotic control, and the subjective experience of an overpowering habit. Among other topics, Dr. Gabriel is also interested in the history and theory of trauma, narrative and healing, the relationship between aesthetics and science in the context of the American political tradition, the inner life of things, and the commodification of subjective experience.


Joseph M. Gabriel, Medical Monopoly: Intellectual Property Rights and the Origins of the Modern Pharmaceutical Industry (University of Chicago Press, 2014)

Joseph M. Gabriel, “Psychedelia and the History of the Chemical Sublime” in Temenuga Trifonova, ed., Contemporary Visual Culture and the Sublime (Routledge, 2017), 236-251.

Joseph M. Gabriel, ""Pharmaceutical Patenting and the Transformation of American Medical Ethics" British Journal of the History of Science 49:4 (2016), 577-600.

Nathan Crick and Joseph M. Gabriel, "Medical Narrative and the Rhetoric of Identification: The Many Faces of Anna White Dildane" Health Communication (2016)

Joseph M. Gabriel, "Damage" in Trysh Travis and Timothy Aubry, eds., Re-Thinking Therapeutic Culture (Forthcoming, University of Chicago Press)

Joseph M. Gabriel and Daniel Goldberg, "Big Pharma and the Problem of Disease Inflation" International Journal of Health Services 44:2 (2014), 307-22.

Joseph M. Gabriel, "The Testing of Sanocrysin: Science, Profit, and Innovation in Clinical Trial Design, 1926-31" Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 69:4 (2014), 604-632

Joseph M. Gabriel, “Bioart and Biopower: Reflections on the Aestheticization of Life Itself” in Judith Rushin, curator and editor, Heads, Shoulders, Genes, Toes (Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, 2013), 15-31.

Joseph M. Gabriel, “Restricting the Sale of ‘Deadly Poisons’: Pharmacists, Drug Regulation, and Narratives of Suffering in the Gilded Age” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 9:3 (2010), 145-169.

Nathan Crick and Joseph M. Gabriel, “The Conduit Between Lifeworld and System: Habermas and the Rhetoric of Public Scientific Controversies” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 40:3 (2010), 1-23.

Joseph M. Gabriel, “’Anesthetics and the Chemical Sublime” Raritan: A Quarterly Review 30:1 (2010), 69-74.

Joseph M. Gabriel, ed. “History, Memory, and Trauma: A Special Issue” Traumatology: An International Journal (December, 2009)

Joesph M. Gabriel, "A Thing Patented is a Thing Divulged:Francis E. Stewart, George S. Davis, and the Legitimization of Intellectual Property Rights in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, 1879-1911" Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 64:2 (2009), 135-172

Joseph M. Gabriel and Nathan Crick, "The Mirror of Narcissus: History, Metaphysics, and the Limits of Richard Rorty's Pragmatism" Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History (Summer 2006). 351-368.

Joseph M. Gabriel, "Mass-Producing the Individual: Mary C. Jarrett, Elmer E. Southard, adn the Industrial Origins of Psychiatric Social Work" Bulletin of the History of Medicine 79:3 (2005), 430-458.

Selected Presentations

"The Battle for Monopoly: Intellectual Property Rights and the Professionalization of Pharmacy," University of Wisconsin, School of Pharmacy. Invited Talk. August, 2014.

“Trademark Law and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of Generic Names” American Association for the History of Medicine, annual meeting. May, 2014

“Intellectual Property Rights and the Moral Economy of Big Pharma, 1918-1942” Johns Hopkins University, History of Science, Medicine and Technology Colloquia. Invited talk. December, 2013.

“Pharmaceutical Suspicion: Toward a Transnational History of Distrust” American Studies Association, Annual Meeting. November, 2012.

“Beautiful Horror: Addiction and the Aesthetics of Decline” Sixth International Conference on the History of Alcohol and Drugs, Buffalo New York. June, 2011.

“Drug Addiction and its Treatment in Historical Context” Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds, Mayo Clinic, Rochester MI. Invited talk. April, 2010.

“The Things Themselves: Intellectual Property Rights, Globalization, and the Transformation of the American Pharmaceutical Industry, 1877-1911.” Annual meeting, American Association for the History of Medicine. April, 2010.

“Gods and Monsters: Toward a Cultural History of Addiction” Department of Social Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Invited talk. March, 2010.

“Tissue Cultures: The Scientific, Legal, and Social Histories of Stem Cell Research” James S. McDonnelll Centennial Reunion Conference. Invited poster. June, 2009.

“Consuming Subjects: Historical Narrative and Interpretive Flexibility in Addiction Research” Addiction, Brain, and Society Conference, Emory University. Invited paper. March, 2009.

Download Dr. Gabriel's CV