Edoardo Pierini



I am a Ph.D student in history of medicine at  the Institut Éthique Histoire Humanités of the University of Geneva since September 2018. My doctoral thesis is entitled “Opiates: Theories, experimentation and social impact in England and France (1600-1700), and I am working under the supervision of Professor Andrea Carlino.

I studied history at the University of Roma Tre (B.A. in 2016 and M.A. in 2017), where I worked on Early Modern European science under the supervision of Professor Antonio Clericuzio. In 2018 I moved to Paris where I got a Master in Comparative History of Civilizations at the University of Paris VII – Diderot. Also, before starting my career as an historian, I graduated in Physiotherapy in Rome at the University La Sapienza, and I worked in the rehabilitation of the Parkinson’s Disease.

Combining the cultural and medical history, I would like to propose a new reading of the role of opiates in the Early Modern Europe by examining the theories, the medical practice, and the experiences elaborated by physicians in dealing with these dangerous substances. I work mainly on sources such as medical treatises, private recipes, letters, or travel literature. Also, I started to work on the development of medical regimens and the medicalization of human’s everyday life since the ancient times to nowadays.



  • “Is Opium Addiction a Specific Oriental Problem? How a Different Context of Drug Taking Shaped Racial Stereotypes in Early Modern Medicine”, Cultures of Intoxication: Contextualising Alcohol & Drug Use, Past & Present, Humanities Institute, University College Dublin, 7-8 February 2020
  • “ Drogues et stéréotypes raciaux à l'époque moderne : le curieux et ambivalent cas de l'opium”, Les Miroirs d’Hippocrate - Médecine et altérité de l’Antiquité à nos jours, Université Paris-Est Créteil, 14 May 2020 (postposé au 26 May 2021)
  •  “Different Peoples, Different Addictions: The Recognition of Different Cultures of Intoxication in Early Modern Medicine”, New Social History of Pharmacy & Pharmaceuticals Festival, American Institute of the History of Pharmacy and the University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Pharmacy, 24-29 September 2020.
  • "Early Modern Experiences with Opium: Human Poisoning, Animal Injection and Auto-Experimentation in the Shaping of New Pharmacological Theories”, 23rd Annual Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science (SAHMS) Conference, March 11-13, 2021.
  •  “Chemical Medicines and Dangerous Drugs: Angelo Sala’s Opiologia”, Applied Arts of Alchemy virtual symposium hosted by the Science History Institute, 20-21 May 2021
  • “The Roots of Racial Stereotypes on Drug Abuse: The Case of Opium from Hippocrates to Nietzsche”, Joint Conference of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine (CSHM) and Canadian Association for the History of Nursing (CAHN), 1-2 June 2021.
  • “Altering the body: Intoxicants in Early Modern Medicine”, International Summer School
  • Latitudes of the Body-Human-Based Measurement and its Contexts, from Leonardo to Newton (1400-1700), 1-24 July 2021, Domus Comeliana – Pisa
  • “Philosophers against Physicians: the roots of a long-lasting conflict over the control of human life”, ESHS ECR Conference “Science and its Enemies: Exploring Conflicts and Alliances in the History of Science”, Athens, 20-22 September 2021



  •  “Taking Opium: Early Modern Experimentation with Opium in the Shaping of a New Pharmacology” in Fabrizio Baldassarri & Alain Touwaide (ed.) The Matter of Plants in medical traditions, De Gruyter (Fall 2021)
  •  “Different Peoples, Different Inebriations: The Recognition of Different Cultures of Intoxication in Early Modern Medicine”, in Canadian Bulletin of Medical History (Fall 2021)