This module is co-convened by Dr Alexander Medcalf (Department of History) and Dr Juliana Mensah (Department of English and Related Literature)
This core module identifies and examines key theoretical concepts and debates in medical history and humanities, including shifting definitions of the field itself, and the co-existence of multiple conceptions and approaches. It begins with a session which explores the term ‘medical humanities’ and traces its history. The opening session will introduce medical humanities as a field which crosses disciplinary, cultural and temporal boundaries. This interdisciplinary, cross-cultural approach is reflected in the wide geographical and historical scope of the material covered in seminars throughout the module.
In the sessions which follow, students will engage with theories of the body, conceptions of health, medicine and well-being, representations of illness, and different types of engagement with health policy through the study of materials from early modern, eighteenth-century, modern and contemporary periods. Students will explore a range of methodologies; they will examine primary and secondary historical sources, critically analyse images, and engage in close readings of literary texts. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the value of the different approaches, as well as on how their understanding of medical humanities has shifted throughout the module.
|A||Autumn Term 2022-23|
This module aims to:
Introduce students to key theoretical concepts and debates in the fields of medical history and humanities
Encourage students to consider the flexibility of the terms ‘medical history’ and ‘medical humanities’, and to think about them from a wide historical and global perspective
Introduce key methodologies in the medical history and humanities, and explore the challenges and the possibilities of interdisciplinary work
Provide opportunities for students to discuss, debate and write about literary and historical texts and sources across a broad chronology
After completing this module students should have:
Select, evaluate and critically analyse primary and secondary historical sources and materials
Engage in close readings of literary texts, literary criticism and theory
Locate images, texts, and works of art relating to the cultural history of medicine in their wider historical contexts
Make connections between medical history and humanities, and global health policy
Participate in discussions and debates that cross disciplinary boundaries
Effectively present an argument or a set of ideas orally
Students will attend eight weekly two-hour seminars in weeks 2-9.
Seminar topics are subject to variation, but are likely to include the following:
Perspectives on Medical History and Humanities
Pollution, Perception and Public Health
Love, Melancholia and Medieval Medicine
Medicine in the Nineteenth Century City
One Health: Animals as Medicine
The Human Body in History and Culture
Reading and Health in Early Modern England
Visual Culture in Medical History and Humanities
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
4,000 word essay
Students will complete a 2,000 word essay for formative assessment, due in week 6, for which they will receive an individual tutorial.
Students taking the module as a core module will submit a 4,000 word assessed essay in week 10 of the autumn term. For those taking the module as an option module, a 4,000 word assessed essay will be due in week 2 of the spring term.
For further details about assessed work, students should refer to the Statement of Assessment for Taught Postgraduate Programmes.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
4,000 word essay
Following their formative assessment, students will receive oral feedback at a one-to-one meeting with their tutor and written feedback consisting of comments and a mark within 10 working days of submission. Tutors are also available in their student hours to discuss formative assessment. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.
For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.
For term time reading, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the module starts, we encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading:
Rosenberg, Charles and Janet Golden (editors). Framing Disease: Studies in Cultural History. Rutgers University Press, 1992.
Whitehead, Anne, Angela Woods, Jane MacNaughton and Jennifer Richards (editors). The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities. Edinburgh University Press, 2016.
Waldschmidt, Anne, Hanjo Berressem, and Moritz Ingwersen, eds. Culture – Theory – Disability: Encounters between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2017.