Medical Humanities - a contradictory idea or a new academic field?

Professor of Medicine and the Arts, Brian Hurwitz, is visiting the Science Studies Colloquium Series. The lecture is open for everyone.

Brian Hurwitz

The lecture is part of Science Studies Colloquium Series, and is open for everyone. The lecture lasts from 14.15-15.00. Shortly after we have a break where we we serve coffee and tea, free of charge. From 15.15-16.00 we open up for questions, comments and discussion.


Medical Humanities - a contradictory idea or a new academic field?

A step change in the visibility of the Medical Humanities has taken place over the last decade or so. Although this mixed matrix of subjects has long had a footing in teaching faculties in US medical schools, universities in the UK have recently begun to develop centres for Medical Humanities across the arts and science faculties: at the interfaces of health and humanities, arts and health, and medical education and bioethics programmes. These centres are creating masters and PhD programmes, winning Research Council funding, and gaining notice by Scandinavian universities. Yet the Medical Humanities remains a dissonant and complex notion. How well can the humanities mesh and articulate with science and medicine? How easy is it to define the field, is there a unifying vision of it, and what accounts for its growing popularity and visibility in academic circles today? The intellectual roots and rationales of this newly burgeoning field, its intellectual coherence, culture and tools will be addressed, assessed and discussed.


BRIAN HURWITZ is a clinical academic with 30 years’ experience in the NHS.  Since 2002 he’s been Professor of Medicine and the Arts at King’s College London, where he directs the Centre for the Humanities and Health which is funded by the Wellcome Trust. Based in the Department of English at King’s, Brian’s research interests include narrative studies in relation to medical practice, ethics, law and the literary shape of case reports. He has co-authored and edited some 130 peer reviewed papers, 40 book chapters and 8 books, including: Clinical Guidelines and the Law (1998), Narrative-Based Medicine: Dialogue and Discourse in Clinical Practice (with P Greenhalgh (1998) translated into Italian, German and Japanese editions, Narrative Research In Health and Illness (with P Greenhalgh and V Skultans (2004) translated into Japanese, Health Care Errors and Patient Safety (with A Sheikh 2009), and Discourses and Narrations in the Biosciences (with P Spinozzi 2011). He holds honorary professorships in the Centre for Value, Ethics, Law and Medicine at the University of Sydney, the Schools of Humanities and Medicine at Hong Kong University, and at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, University College London. Prior to his current position he was Professor of Primary Health and General Practice at Imperial College London.


Science Studies Colloquium Series
Published Apr. 8, 2013 12:07 PM - Last modified Jan. 6, 2017 8:37 AM