PhD Studentships: King’s College London Medical Humanities

13 April 2010

The Centre for the Humanities and Health, King’s College London, is now inviting applications for three PhD Studentships commencing in 2010.

The Centre has been created with the help of a £2 million Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust and offers unparalleled opportunities to develop a wide ranging interdisciplinary interface between health sciences and the humanities. The staff of the Centre comprises nine senior academics from KCL’s departments of Psychology, Psychiatry, English, Philosophy, History, Nursing and Medicine, who are conducting a multistranded programme of research entitled ‘The Boundaries of Illness’ which has six distinctive, inter-connected strands of activity.

Applicants are invited to consider the six strands of research already underway in the Centre for the Humanities and Health and to situate their research proposals

a) In one or more strands, or
b) Across strands, or
c) In another theme or research area within the field of the Medical Humanities.

Further particulars and application forms can be downloaded here.

Applications close May 4th 2010.

PhD Studentship: Medicine of the Mind and Natural Philosophy in Early Modern England: A New Way of Interpreting Francis Bacon

19 March 2010

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship offered by The Warburg Institute to join a research project funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, starting in October 2010.

The research team at the Warburg Institute will consist of Dr Giglioni and a PhD student, who will both concentrate on topics that, within the broader context of Bacon’s ‘medicining of the mind’ intersect with domains such as natural philosophy, medicine and practical divinity. Particular attention will be devoted to investigating possible influences coming from the Stoic tradition, especially in its late Renaissance

incarnations, and closely related to this, to exploring the notion of ‘appetite’, in relation to the human body, the body of the universe and the body politic, as it appears in the writings of Bacon and his contemporaries. An opportunity exists for a full-time PhD student to carry out research on an aspect of one of these areas under the supervision of Dr Giglioni. The student will be registered for the PhD degree of the University of London and, in accordance with University regulations, will be registered for the MPhil degree in the first instance. The appointment will be for four years. The student will be required to submit a doctoral thesis to the University of London within three or a maximum of four years. The student will participate fully in the project as a whole and will be expected to collaborate with all members of the project and to attend workshops and conferences in both London and Bucharest (expenses will be paid). As a student of the Warburg Institute, the person will also be expected to participate fully in the academic life of the Institute and to be subject to the same requirements as other research students of the Institute.

Applicants should possess, or expect to possess by November 2010, a first-class or good second-class honours degree and a Master’s degree in relevant subject areas from a British university or overseas qualifications of an equivalent standard. A good reading knowledge of Latin is essential; and the ability to read at least one continental European language is desirable.

The value of the studentship will be £19,490-£26,547 for each of the first three years depending on personal circumstance. The value of the studentship in the fourth year will be subject to further negotiation.

Candidates should complete the Student Admission Form available in the Graduate Studies section of the Institute’s website here and submit it together with their research proposal; guidelines for the research proposal are given on the application form. The form and research proposal should be sent, with a covering letter stating that the application is in connection with the Medicine of the Mind project, to:

The Secretary and Registrar, The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square,
London WC1H 0AB and not to the address on the form.

Applicants would be welcome to discuss their research proposal in advance with Dr Giglioni (e-mail:; telephone: +44 (0) 20 7862 8949).

Any queries regarding completion of the application form should be addressed to the Secretary and Registrar (e-mail:; telephone: +44 (0) 20 7862 8949).

Closing date for receipt of applications is 30 April 2010.

For further details see the Warburg Institute website here.

Conference: Madness: Probing the Boundaries

2 February 2010

3rd Global Conference

Tuesday 14th September – Thursday 16th September 2010
Oriel College, Oxford

Call for Papers
This inter-disciplinary research conference seeks to explore issues of madness across historical periods and within cultural, political and social contexts. We are also interested in exploring the place of madness in persons and interpersonal relationships and across a range of critical perspectives. Seeking to encourage innovative inter, multi and post disciplinary dialogues, we warmly welcome papers from all disciplines, professions and vocations which struggle to understand the place of madness in the constitution of persons, relationships and the complex interlacing of self and other.

In particular papers, workshops, presentations and pre-formed panel proposals are invited on any of the following themes:

1. The Value of Madness or Why is it that We Need Madness?
~ Critical explorations: beyond madness/sanity/insanity
~ Continuity and difference: always with us yet never quite the same
~ Repetition and novelty: the incessant emergence and re-emergence of madness
~ Profound attraction and desire; fear of the abyss and the radical unknown
~ Naming, defining and understanding the elusive

2. The Passion of Madness or Madness and the Emotions
~ Love as madness; uncontrollable passion; unrestrainable love
~ Passion and love as a remaking of life and self
~ Gender and madness; the feminine and the masculine
~ Anger, resentment, revenge, hate, evil
~ I would rather vomit, thank you; revulsion, badness and refusing to comply

3. The Boundaries of Madness or Resisting Normality
~ Madness, sanity and the insane
~ Being out of your mind, crazy, deranged … yet, perfectly sane
~ Deviating from the normal; defining the self against the normal
~ Control, self-control and the pull of the abyss
~ When the insane becomes normal; when evil reins social life

4. Lunatics and the Asylum or Power and the Politics of Madness
~ The social allure and fear of madness; the institutions of confining mad people
~ Servicing normality by castigating the insane and marginalizing lunatics
~ Medicine, psychiatry, psychology, law and the constructions of madness; madness as illness
~ Contributions of the social sciences to the making and the critique of the making of madness
~ Representations, explanations and the critique of madness from the humanities and the arts

5. Creativity, Critique and Cutting Edge
~ Madness as genius, outstanding, out of the ordinary, spectacularly brilliant
~ The art of madness; the science of madness
~ Music, painting, dance, theatre: it is crazy to think of art without madness
~ The language and communication of madness: who can translate?
~ Creation as an unfolding of madness

6. Unrestrained and Boundless or The Liberating Promise of Madness
~ Metaphors of feeling free, unrestrained, capable, lifted from reality
~ Madness as clear-sightedness, as opening up possibilities, as re-visioning of the world
~ The future, the prophetic, the unknown; the epic, the heroic and the tragic
~ The unreachable and untouchable knowledge of madness
~ The insanity of not loving madness

7. Lessons for Self and Other or Lessons for Life about and from Madness
~ Cultural and social constructions of madness; images of the mad, crazy, insane, lunatic, abnormal
~ What is real? Who defines reality? Learning from madness how to cope with reality
~ Recognising madness in oneself; relativising madness in others
~ Love, intimacy, care and the small spaces of madness
~ Critical and ethical implosions of normality and normalness; sane in insane places and insane in sane places

Papers will be accepted which deal with related areas and themes.

The 2010 meeting of Madness will run alongside our project on Villains and Villainy and we anticipate holding sessions in common between the two projects.  We welcome any papers considering the problems or addressing issues of Mad Villains, Madness and Villainy and related themes.

Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 26th March 2010. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 13th August 2010.

300 word abstracts should be submitted to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract
E-mails should be entitled: Madness Abstract Submission

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

Gonzalo Araoz
University of Cumbria, Cumbria, United Kingdom

Maria Vaccarella
Hub Leader, Making Sense Of: and Marie Curie Research Fellow, King’s College, London

Rob Fisher
Network Founder and Network Leader, Inter-Disciplinary.Net, Freeland, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

The conference is part of the ‘Making Sense Of:’ series of research projects. The aim of the conference is to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference are eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be invited to go forward for development into a themed ISBN hard copy volume.

Further details about the project here.
Further details about the conference here.

Seminar: Incentives in Health

28 January 2010

Centre for the Study of Incentives in Health

“The History of Incentives Within Health Policy”

24 February 2010, 5pm
Seminar Room, Department of Psychology, 5th Floor Bermondsey Wing,
Thomas Guy House, Guy’s Campus, London, SE1 9RT
King’s College London

Professor David Armstrong
Professor of Medicine and Sociology
King’s College London

Professor Walter Holland (Chair)
Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Medicine, London School of Economics

Professor Virginia Berridge (Discussant)
Professor of History, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Event is free and unticketed.

Conference: Making Sense Of Health, Illness and Disease

13 January 2010

9th Global Conference
Saturday 11th September – Monday 13th September 2010
Oriel College, Oxford

Call for Papers
This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary project aims to explore the processes by which we attempt to create meaning in health, illness and disease. In previous years, this interdisciplinary conference has attracted delegates from around the world, including practising clinicians, academics from a variety of disciplines, and persons involved in community-based organizations.

At the beginning of the 21st Century, the world is facing a plethora of health problems, some of which could not have easily been predicted as recently as the last two decades of the last century. Globally, there are critical conditions brought about by war, persecution, mass migration, famine and gross social inequalities. In the ‘developed societies’, a combination of demographic and life-style factors is putting increasing pressures on health-care facilities that are in danger of fragmentation and under-funding. For its part, the general public is presenting practitioners with a challenging contradiction: on the one hand, people live longer than ever before and are, in some respects, healthier – but, on the other, the burden of chronic disease and ‘un-wellness’ is increasing, and so is the concern with health-related matters on the part of the ‘man and woman in the street’. The wellness/illness profile of to-day’s communities renders prevention as important as therapy – which, in turn, implies that prevailing social attitudes have a key role in the dynamics of health, illness and health care as an inter-related system.

The 2010 conference is extending a call for papers on any aspect of this complex set of circumstances. Because this is a very broad brief, we particularly welcome papers that address the following themes:

I.    Health, Illness and Disease in a Globalised World
* Health, human rights and social justice
* Health, disease and citizenship
* Health and place
* Diasporas and disease
* Health, disease and international medicine

II.   Systemic Problems in Health Care
* Managerial vs clinical imperatives
* Professional hierarchies and internal conflicts
* The speed of innovation
* The contested nature of evidence-based medicine
* Patients or clients?

III.  Beliefs about Health
* Positive thinking, tranquillity and mindfulness
* Faith in diets (including water), eg vegan, low-carb, natural/organic
* Exercise, breathing
* Belief vs practice
* Fears: allergies, sensitivities, negative thinking, stress, contamination
* Puritanism and health beliefs
* ‘Healthism’ as the new religion

IV.   Attitudes to Medicine/Healing
* Medicine as science
* Alternative/non-western approaches: evidence or ideology?
* Mistrust in ‘the system’ (‘medicine/science cannot explain everything’)
* Mistrust in the practitioners (lack of knowledge/competence/professionalism)
* Risk and trust in the medical encounter (including hospital stays)
* Litigation in the context of health care; the underlying complexities

V.    Purveyors of information
* The media and the popularity of medical programs
* Personal networks
* Dr C. O. M. Puter – the role of the Internet
* Reflexivity in the system – how does public information feed back into health care?

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 26th March 2010. If your paper is accepted for presentation at the conference, an 8 page draft paper should be submitted by Friday 13th August 2010.

300 word abstracts should be submitted to both Organising Chairs with the subject line “HID9 Abstract Submission”; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order:

author(s), affiliation, email address, title of abstract, body of abstract

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Joint Organising Chairs
Maria Vaccarella
Marie Curie Research Fellow
King’s College, London
United Kingdom

Dr Rob Fisher
Priory House, Wroslyn Road, Freeland
Oxfordshire, OX29 8HR
United Kingdom

Perspectives are sought from those engaged in:
* art and art therapy, creative writing, English literature, history of medicine, media studies, the performing arts (dance, music, theatre), philosophy and ethics, psychology and social psychology, social sciences, sociology and socio-biology, theology and religious studies
* anatomy, child care nursing, clinical psychology, counselling, gerontology, health education, health services, hospital administration, immunology, medical and surgical nursing, medicine and the medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, public health care
* practitioners in health care fields – doctors, GP’s, surgeons, health care workers, care givers, hospice workers

All papers accepted for and presented at this conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers maybe invited for development for publication in a themed hard copy dialogic volume(s) The conference is sponsored by Inter-Disciplinary.Net as part of the ‘Probing the Boundaries’ programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.

Further details about the project here.
Further details about the conference here.

PhD Studentship: Philosophy of Medicine

30 December 2009

The Centre for the Humanities and Health and the Philosophy Department at King’s College London invite applications for a PhD Studentship in Philosophy of Medicine commencing in 2010.

The studentship is funded full-time for 3 years and may be held full-time or part-time, though not beyond the end of 2013. The award covers Home/EU postgraduate fees of £3,450 per year, and includes a stipend of c.£21,000 per annum (tax free), plus an annual travel allowance for attending conferences.

This studentship offers an opportunity to work within the ‘Concepts of Health’ strand of research, across the area of the Philosophy of Medicine, broadly construed. This project is led by David Papineau, Professor of the Philosophy of Science, and Mary Margaret McCabe, Professor of Ancient Philosophy, in the Department of Philosophy at King’s College London. The candidate will register for a PhD research degree in Philosophy.

A full description of the project and details of how to apply can be downloaded from the King’s College London Graduate Funding Database, here.

Applications close 1st February 2010

Seminar: Philosophy/Medical Humanities

23 November 2009

25th November at 4.30pm

Royal Holloway’s central London home:
11 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3RA

Tim Thornton
Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health, University of Central Lancashire

“Clinical judgement and the medical humanities”

The medical humanities have grown in popularity at the same time that Evidence Based Medicine has established itself as the dominant ideology in medicine but also autonomy has become the key medical ethical value and person centred care (and ‘personalisation’) has become an important focus of policy. It is thus plausible to see the medical humanities as a complement to EBM, helping to balance the latter’s focus on the general with a focus on the particular or individual. Setting the medical humanities against the standard of EBM threatens, however, to undermine their epistemic status. In this presentation I will argue that this worry is best addressed head on through a philosophical examination of the nature and status of clinical judgement.

All are welcome. Event is free and unticketed.

Conference: Progress in Medicine

13 November 2009

Conference announcement and call for papers
13 – 15 April 2010
University of Bristol

The aims of this conference are:
• To examine the nature, scope, causes, and grounds of progress in medicine.
• To provide a forum for developing the unified study of the history and philosophy of medicine, and in particular raising the profile of the philosophy of medicine in the UK and its engagement with the history of medicine.
• To create interdisciplinary bridges between the medical, philosophical, and historical professions, enabling medical professionals to become more theoretically engaged, while philosophers and philosophically-minded historians of medicine engage with the actual practice of medical professionals, so that their research reflects the realities and needs of modern medicine.
• To facilitate the wider dissemination of research in the philosophy and history of medicine beyond the boundaries of those disciplines, and especially in medical practice.
• To identify opportunities for public engagement concerning the relation between medical progress and changing attitudes to medical knowledge, the medical profession, and medical authority.

Conference homepage here.
Call for papers here.

The organising committee are:
Professor Alexander Bird (University of Bristol), Michael Bresalier (University of Bristol), Dr Alex Broadbent (University of Cambridge), Dr Havi Carel (University of the West of England), Dr Jeremy Howick (Oxford/UCL); advised by: Professor Donald Gillies (UCL) and Dr Rachel Cooper (Lancaster).

This conference is generously supported by the Mind Association, the British Society for the Philosophy of Science, and the Aristotelian Society.

Seminars: Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine

16 October 2009

Wednesdays 17:00 – 18:30
5th Floor Seminar Room, The Wellcome Building, Euston Road, London NW1 2BE

21 October
Dr David Reubi (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
The Human Capacity to Reflect and Decide – Bioethics, Governance and Subjectivity

04 November
Dr Matthew Thomson (University of Warwick)
David Eder (1865-1936): Making Sense of the Life of England’s First Psychoanalyst

18 November
Dr Hera Cook (University of Birmingham)
“They were frightened lest I give way to my grief, and involve them in a distasteful upsurge of emotion”

02 December
Dr Adam Bencard (Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen)
Is Life a Book and the Body a Text? History and Molecular Biology beyond Information

Registration not required. Details of other events here. For more information contact Carol Bowen:

Lecture: Howard Brody on The Medical Humanities: Three Conceptions & Three Narratives

9 October 2009

18.00–20.00 Wednesday 21 October 2009
Great Hall, Strand Campus, King’s College London, WC2R 2LS

Professor Howard Brody is the Director of the Institute for Medical Humanities at the University of Texas. He is the author of many works in the fields of medical ethics and medical humanities, most recently, The Future of Bioethics (OUP, 2009).

The evening marks the launch of the new Centre for the Humanities & Health and will include an address by Professor Brian Hurwitz, Director of the Centre for the Humanities & Health, and will be hosted by the Principal of King’s, Professor Rick Trainor.

A drinks reception will follow the lecture.

No RSVP required. Enquiries to Abi Matthewman
email: or tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1405