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Global Medical Humanities: Exploring the ‘Milieu’

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Global Medical Humanities: Exploring the ‘Milieu’ 6 October – 8 October 2021 Wolfson College and Online

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Convenors Ariane Hanemaayer (Visiting Fellow, CRASSH , Brandon University, Canada, University of Exeter) Eftihia Mihelakis (Brandon University, Canada)

Summary The medical humanities is a field as diverse as CRASSH , representing the arts (e.g., literature, theatre/performance, fine arts, and film), social sciences (e.g., sociology of health and disease, anthropology of medicine, the biopsychosocial model, social determinant of health, health geography), and humanities (e.g., bioethics, history of medicine, philosophy of medicine, comparative literature, and spirituality and healing). The interdisciplinary strength of this field is its ability to imagine otherwise, to view and analyse medical practice, knowledge and beliefs, and experiences of health and/or illness from perspectives beyond the imperialism of biomedicine in our daily lives. While some uses of the medical humanities have been instrumental in their appropriation of the tools, methods, and ideas of ‘outside’ disciplines to improve medical education or health care, the medical humanities also offer the critical and political promise of promoting and including otherwise marginalised voices and practices in medicine.

Our contemporary world has been globalised, and medicine has been organised and reorganised accordingly, both conscientiously and unwittingly. As lines between disciplines have been moved, settled, and colonised, so too have the health sciences and practices. Our health, our discourse and knowledge, and our health systems may appear as natural to us, but their naturalisation is tied to the globalising and organising currents that insert themselves therein. This terrain of struggle, of movement, of practice, requires cross-disciplinary conversation and analysis. To fully understand how medicine and the medical humanities coalesce, conjunct, and construct one another, we present three days of diverse and multi-disciplinary events in an in-person and digital hybrid format.

The events will engage with this idea of the global, medicine, and the medical humanities through the spectre of the milieu. The milieu is conceived as a space where language, practice, stories, knowledge, and experiences combine and are combined. The milieu is pressed upon from the outside, to recall a Deleuzean construction, yet its contours also push back. With this focus, we restore the milieu as central to understanding both medicine and the medical humanities, their relationship, function, and role in imagining what is possible within and outside the current space of practice and analysis. Each workshop, keynote presentation and panel will cultivate conversation across genres, performances, knowledges, and experiences. The panels aim to be transformative in our local milieux while also inciting radicality globally.

This talk is part of the CRASSH series.

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