Durham University Centre for Medical Humanities / Wolfson (BUW) Post-Graduate & Early Career Research Network
Thursday 20 February 2014, 2pm – 3:30 pm
School of Education, Durham University (Durham, Leazes Rd Campus), Room 242
The CMH/Wolfson Post-Grad and Early Career Research Group is back and the focus of our next session is ‘HAPPINESS’. What is it to be happy and what is it to adopt a vocabulary of ‘happiness’ in our research (as opposed to health, wellbeing, flourishing, etc.)? How might we evaluate the decade-long relationship between medical humanities and the ‘new’ happiness and ‘positive psychology’ agendas?
This session invites participants to explore the multiple ways in which we can know and understand happiness, and to consider the extent to which both the ‘happiness agenda’ and more critical readings of happiness studies are useful to us as scholars and practitioners. (Examples here might stretch from the aesthetics and wonder of happiness, to teaching happiness in schools, to the now well established economics of happiness, and of ‘gross national happiness’ as an alternative measure of development).
Once again, we are looking for one or two volunteers to provide an informal opening presentation on an aspect of their research which speaks to the theme of this session (5-8 minutes). Please reply to Jenny Laws if you are interested in presenting, and also to register your attendance for purposes of cake and tea. New members from any discipline or career background are always welcome.
Spark questions might include, but are not limited to:
- Is happiness a helpful or meaningful concept in our work? What are its limitations?
- What do our specific methodological, disciplinary and intellectual commitments bring to an understanding of happiness?
- Does it make sense to speak of a distinctly medical humanities approach to happiness studies, and if so, what should this look like?
- In a context in which studies of happiness turn evermore towards the economic and political sciences, what role might medical humanities – including philosophy, literature, ethics, and art – add to this discussion?
- What takes place after happiness, and what should happiness scholars do with the profoundly unhappy, non-happy and more-than-happy?
We look forward to seeing many of you there!
Dr Jenny Laws