Thomas Foth


Thomas Foth
Associate Professor

2011 Ph.D. Nursing University of Ottawa, CA
2007 M.Sc. Nursing Science University of Bremen, DE
2007 State exam 1st grade University of Bremen, DE
2006 Certificate Gender studies University of Bremen, DE
1999 State-approved Diploma Nursing Wilhelmsburg Catholic Hospital

Room: RGN 3245B
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 8435
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Thomas Foth


Thomas Foth is an assistant professor at the School of Nursing in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa. He has worked on many research projects in the fields of interdisciplinary cooperation between nurses and physicians, nursing professionalization processes in Germany as well as psychiatry in that country. As a nurse, he has worked in different areas of the profession. He taught at a nursing school in Germany before he came to Canada. His doctoral research project explores the participation of nurses in the killing of more than 200,000 sick persons during the Nazi regime. He received financial support fromRobert Bosch Stiftung, a foundation in Germany, and the AMS Nursing History Research Unit at the University of Ottawa.

Foth’s fields of interest include history of nursing, critical theory of nursing action, nursing theories, philosophy of science, ethics, care provided to marginalized populations, technologies and nursing, power relationships between health care professionals and patients as well as gender. Most of his work is based on the discourse analytical approach, oriented on the works of Michel Foucault, queer theorists and postcolonial studies. He also uses approaches from actor-network theories and the “newer” critical theory in Germany.


Research Interests

  • Nursing history and discourse analysis
  • Ethics
  • Actor-network theory
  • Subjectification processes and nursing
  • Critical theory and “Frankfurt School”
  • Queer theories and postcolonial theories
  • Professionalization

Research projects (2009 – 2011)

Final Report: Foth, T., Block, K. (2011). Die Perspektive von Hausärzt_innen sowie ambulanten und heimstationären Pflegekräften auf die Effizienz ärztlich-pflegerischer Kooperation—eine qualitative Studie. [How do the perspectives of physicians and nurses differ regarding the efficiency of their cooperation—a qualitative study]. Projekt der Robert Bosch Stiftung und Arbeits- und Koordinationsstelle Gesundheitsversorgungsforschung (AKG). Projektleitung: Schmacke, N., Stamer, M.



Books authored

  • Foth, T., Caring and Killing: Nursing and Psychiatric Practice in Germany, 1931-1943, Göttingen, V&R unipress, Universität Osnabrück, 15 February 2013, Remmers, H., Pflegewissenschaft und Pflegebildung, 9, 282., (In Press)
  • Block, K. and Foth, T., Allgemeinmedizin und Pflege in der ambulanten Versorgung [Nurses and General Practitioners in ambulatory care], Weinheim und Basel, Beltz Juventa, 225 pages.

Chapters in books

  • Foth, T., "Changing Perspectives: From the ‘Euthanasia Killings' to the ‘Killings of Sick Persons'", Nurses' ‘Participation' in the Nazi ‘Euthanasia' Programs, Benedict, S., Shields, L. (Eds.), Routledge., (Accepted)
  • Foth, T.; Benedic, S.; Kuhla, J., "Nursing during National Socialsim", Nurses' Paritcipation in the Nazi 'Euthanasia' Programs, Benedic, S.; Shields, L., New York, Routledge., (Accepted)
  • Foth, T., "Wie Menschen unsichtbar werden. Pflegeaufzeichnungen und die Produktion von 'nacktem Leben'", Krankenpflege im Nationalsozialismus, Ulmer, E. M., Fankfurt am Main, Mabuse., (Accepted)
  • Foth, T., "Die Tötung Kranker als andere Perspektive in der Analyse der nationalsozialisten Massenmorde", Krankenpflege im Nationalsozialismus, Ulmer, E. M., (Accepted)
  • Darmann-Finck, I. & Foth, T., "Bildungsforschung, Qualifikationsforschung und Sozialisationsforschung in der Pflege [Educational research and professional science research of qualification and socialisation in nursing]", Handbuch Pflegewissenschaft, Schaeffer, D. & Wingenfeld, K., Juventa, 2011, 165-182.
  • Foth, T. Regieren durch Akten, "Die Funktion von PatientInnenakten bei den Krankenmorden während des NS-Faschismus. [Governing through documents. The function of the medicals records in the killing of sick persons during the NS-regime]",Strukturentstehung durch Verflechtung, Akteur-Netzwerk-Theorie(n) und Automatismen, Conradi, T., Derwanz, H., Muhle, F., München, Wilhelm Fink, 2011, Bublitz, H., Ecker, G. Eke, N., Keil,R., Winkler,H, Automatismen, 219-235.
  • Foth, T. & Holmes, D., «Gestion biopolitique d'une population captive», PAC La biopolitique outre-atlantique après Foucault, Risse, D., Kiefer, A. (Eds.), Harmattan, 2012, 160-168.

Papers in refereed journals

  • Jacob, J. D.; Foth, T., "Expanding our understanding of sovereign power: On the creation of zones of exception in forensic psychiatry", Nursing Philosophy, (Accepted)
  • Foth, T., "Understanding "Caring" Theories and Biopolitics. The Case of Nurses under the Nazi Regime", Nursing Philosophy, (Accepted)
  • Foth, T., "Caring and Devastation in Nazi-Germany", Nursing Inquiry.
  • Foth, T., "Biopolitical Spaces, Vanished Death, and the Power of Vulnerability in Nursing", Aporia, 16-26, 2009.
  • Foth, T.; Steiner, C., "Im Spannungsfeld zwischen Natur und Technik: Pflege als Bewahrerin des natürlichen Körpers? [Between nature and technology: nursing science and the natural body]", intensiv Zeitschrift für Anästhesie und Intensivmedizin, 15, 20-31, 2007.
  • Foth, T., "Shock Therapies as Intensification of the War against Madness in Hamburg, Germany: 1930-1943", Canadian Bulletin of Medical History.

Papers in refereed conference proceedings

  • Foth, T., "Shock Therapies and the War Against Madness: Psychiatric Practice in Hamburg, Germany 1920-1945", 2012 Joint Conference of Cheiron and the European Society for the History of the Human Sciences, Dawson College, Montreal, (Submitted)
  • Foth, T., "The War Against Madness: Nurses and Shock Therapies in Germany, 1920-1945", Places and People's Health: Exploring Nursing in Diverse Contexts, Medicine Hat, Alberta.
  • Foth, T., "Shock therapies as means to intensify the war against madness. Germany – Canada 1920-1945", Der ‚therapeutische Aufbruch' der Psychiatrie in der Zeit zwischen den Weltkriegen. Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich, Technische Hochschule, Aachen.
  • Perreault, I.; Foth, T., «La guerre contre la folie: les thérapies de choc en Allemagne et au Canada, 1920-1950», Canadian Society for the History of Medicine, Université Wilfrid Laurier et Université de Waterloo.
  • Foth, T., "Nurses as accomplices in the murder of sick persons in Germany before, during and after the Nazi regime", 2011 CSHM/CAHN Annual Conference, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada, 12p, 2011.
  • Foth, T., "Understanding Nursing as a Dispositif: Healing and Devastation in the Age of Biopower", 4th International Conference “In Sickness & Health” Conference, Odense, Denmark, 12p, 2011.
  • Foth, T., "Kooperation als gemeinsames Ziel? Wie erleben Hausärzt_innen und Pflegegekräfte die Effizienz ihrer Kooperation", 11. Fachgespräch Alumnni Netzwerk „Pflege braucht Eliten e.V.“ Robert Bosch Stiftung, Groningen, Netherlands, 15p, 2010.
  • Foth, T., "Regieren durch Dokumente", ANT-Workshop Strukturenstehung durch Verflechtung, Graduiertenkolleg ‚Autmatismen‘, Universität Paderborn, Germany, 12p, 2010.
  • Holmes, D., Perron, A., and Foth, T., «Infirmières, lutte contre le terrorisme et violations du droit: le camp comme assise d’une analyse politique», International Academy of Law and Mental Health, New York City, United States, 15p, 2009.
  • Foth, T., Perron, A., Holmes, D., and Stuart, M., «Gestion biopolitique d’une population captive. Analyse critique des soins infirmiers en milieux psycho-légaux», Colloque « La biopolitique outre Atlantique après Foucault », ACFAS 2009, Université d’Ottawa, 10p, 2009.

Major invited contributions or technical reports

  • Foth, T., Pflege als Dispositiv. Überlegungen zu einer Pflege-Ethik, Universität Osnabrück, Universität Osnabrück.
  • Foth, T., A Historical Perspective for Nursing Ethics, RNAO Annual Nursing Week Dinner, RNAO.
  • Foth, T., Nurses as accomplices in the murder of sick persons in Germany before, during, and after the Nazi regime, MÉOS, University of Montreal, University of Montreal.


Other contributions

Book Reviews

  • Foth, T., Moving Beyond Borders: A History of Black Canadian and Caribean Women in the Diaspora, Flynn, K.(Toronto, Buffalo, London, University of Toronto Press, 2011), Nursing History Review., (Accepted)
  • Foth, T., Caregiving on the Periphery: Historical Perspectives on Nursing and Midwifery in Canada, Rutherdale, M.(Montreal&Kingston, London, Ithaca, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2010), Nursing History Review., (Accepted)


Media - Radio

  • Foth, T., The significance of German psychiatric history for contemporary psychiatric practice.



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