The Life of Breath: new directions in Medical Humanities (Lecture, University of York, 26 November 2014)

Centre for Global Health Histories lectures

Wednesday 26 November 2014, 6.00PM

Speaker: Professor Jane Macnaughton, Durham University

This lecture will take as its theme the future direction of medical humanities, a field that has never has a settled identity, but which is one of a number of fields leading thinking in interdisciplinary work in the UK.  It will outline the changing face of the field and illustrate its current trajectory and ambition with reference to a new project about to commence at the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University.  This project, the ‘Life of Breath’ will be funded by a Senior Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust.  The Life of Breath, unlike much work in medical humanities which is focussed on mental illness, will investigate the experience of breathing and breathlessness and the associated clinical condition of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, currently the fourth biggest global cause of death.  The project takes a 360 degree approach to understanding breathlessness from phenomenological, cultural, historical, neuroscientific and clinical perspectives in order to open out potential new approaches to research and also to find new ways to overcome the stigma that so often marginalises those who suffer from breathlessness.

Speaker biography: Jane Macnaughton is Professor of Medical Humanities at Durham University and co-director of the University’s Centre for Medical Humanities (CMH).  She has published in the fields of medical education, medical humanities, literature and medicine, history of medicine and health care environments.  Recently her work has turned to engagement in critical public health especially in the field of smoking research.  This has led to an interest in the phenomenology of breathing and breathlessness which is the focus of her Senior Investigator Award in Medical Humanities held jointly with Professor Havi Carel at Bristol.

Location: The Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building

Admission: is free and open to all. No ticket required.

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