Thursday 14th September 2017 Van Mildert College, Durham
Programme Day 1

Keynote address: Ericka Johnson and Kristin Zeiler (Linköping University, Sweden) “Embodiment, Materiality and Normativity in Medical Humanities”

Parallel 1 1a) Medical Posthumanities?: New Approaches to Illness, Disability, and Care 
Amelia DeFalco (University of Leeds) Imagining Posthuman Care

Beverley Clough (University of Leeds) New Materialisms and Posthumanisms: New Directions for Mental Capacity Law

Nick Jenkins (University of the West of Scotland) When Species Meet in Dementia: A critical posthumanist exploration of ‘animal assistance’ for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and associated disorders

1b) Spaces of Madness
Ute Oswald (University of Warwick) ‘The Pleasure is Intense’: Social Activities in British Asylums c. 1800-1890 “In exposing the impact of recreational activities on the nineteenth-century insane, this paper aims to prompt a discussion around the rehabilitative value of these activities, potentially staking a claim in identifying the forerunners of art, music and drama therapy.”

Natalie Mullen (University of Lancaster) ‘The Geography of License’: Asylum Architecture and Patient Agency in Lancaster’s County Asylum, 1840-1915

Cheryl McGeachan (University of Glasgow) Tracking Traces of the Art Extraordinary Collection– historical and cultural geographies of mental (ill)health and asylum spaces; “with particular interests in R.D. Laing, Scottish art therapy and ‘outsider’ art ” this paper feeds into debates concerning the need to expand the scope of archival research in the medical humanities beyond bounded walls and into the hearts, minds, bodies and landscapes of those bound up with histories in the making.”

1c) Tracing Concepts across the Life-Course 
Robbie Duschinsky and Sophie Reijman (University of Cambridge)  “We argue that the disorganised attachment classification has operated as a ‘buzzing boundary object’ – one that magnetises concern and acknowledgement among different groups through creating noise in which each can hear urgent messages, though at the price of reduced understanding and precision between contexts.”

Lesley Gallacher (Northumbria University) From milestones to wayfaring: Geographic metaphors and iconography of embodied growth and change in infancy and early childhood

Rina Knoeff (University of Groningen) Histories of Healthy Ageing: while “organisations increasingly accept “culture” as an important factor in the making of health policy, the “use” of history is problematic. In medicine history is often seen in a narrative of progress, whereby old advice and remedies are easily criticized as old-fashioned. In history the project touches upon the tricky question of whether we can learn from the past.”

Lisa Shaw (University of Liverpool) Cinema, memory and well-being: a pilot project for the over-65s in Petrópolis, Brazil

2a) Historicising bodies and mind
Noelle Dückmann Gallagher (University of Manchester) A Study of Noses: The Syphilitic Nose in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Art “I examine the weird and wonderful cultural life of the deformed nose in eighteenth century British literature and art. I argue it came to assume a powerful metonymic significance, standing in for many of the broader social dangers that venereal disease could represent.”

Clark Lawlor (Northumbria University) ‘On Fashions in Physic’: Discourses of Fashionable Disease in the Romantic Period.”In a burgeoning medical market…Fashionable diseases were one crucial aspect of the construction of women as objects of conspicuous consumption and all the ideological contradictions that came with their role.”

Åsa Jansson (Durham University) From Self-Help to CBT: Regulating Emotion in a (Neo)Liberal World  “CBT derives from a model of the emotions as involuntary reactions, which we can learn to regulate through practice. This model has its roots in Victorian medicine, where a biological mind co-existed with ideas of moral responsibility and self-help. Disorders of affect were seen to develop over time, and could be prevented, paused, and reversed through habitual wilful effort to modify one’s conduct. By framing habit as a learned skill that restored the individual’s capacity for agency, Victorian physicians retained a moral quality to a model of the mind presented as scientific and objective. The idea of emotional regulation was a bound up with Victorian values of ‘self-help’ and ‘industriousness’, It is no coincidence, then, that the behavioural therapies and a biological, internal model of mental illness dominate in twenty-first-century neoliberal society built on visions of self-sufficiency and independence. However, locating psychiatric illness solely within the individual obscures its socioeconomic context. This ensures that questions about collective responsibility for psychological wellbeing are foreclosed, simultaneously marginalising alternative treatment models and arguments for radical economic and social reform. ”

2b) Concepts in Clinical Practice
Ylva Gustafsson (Åbo Akademi University, Finland) Reflections on the increasingly scientific research on empathy in medicine ” Today’s increase in writings on empathy in medical ethics gives the impression that there is a growing moral awareness of the importance of attending to the patient’s perspective. The aim of the paper is to investigate this impression [but] may in fact lead to a decreasing attention towards individual patients. Does the increasing pressure for cost efficiency in health care make quantifiable and generalizable research on empathy appealing? Is this one reason why cognitive conceptions of empathy have become popular in health care?”

Ian Sabroe (University of Sheffield) Uncertainty in clinical practice “the nature of uncertainty as experienced by clinicians is rarely examined…[nor] How uncertainty impacts … on the experience of the clinician, their practice, and their own health will also be explored.”

Jo Winning (Birkbeck, University of London) Putting theory into practice: embedding a practice-based medical humanities paradigm into the Clinical Assessment of Skills & Competencies examination, Royal College of Psychiatrists

2c) Environmental Factors & Affordances
Brian Ward (Northumbria University) In Search of the Sick South: Exploring Disease, Disability, Dying and Death in the US South “how the language of disease and contagion has critically informed official and popular southern opposition to various forms of popular music, notably jazz in the 1920s, rock and roll in the 1950s, and the British invasion of the 1960s. This language reveals much about the interaction of medical, racial, gender and class coordinates in southern history and culture, both real and imagined”

Arthur Rose (Durham University) Histories of a Killer Dust: 20th century genre fiction about asbestos

Benedict Hoff (University of Sheffield) Taking notice as therapeutic practice: urban mindfulness, curiosity and wellbeing

Parallel Sessions 3 3a) Shame & Multimorbidities
Luna Dolezal (University of Exeter) and Barry Lyons (Trinity College Dublin) Health-Related Shame: An Affective Determinant of Health? “emotional or affective states, in particular shame, can have a significant impact upon health, illness and health-related behaviours. We outline four possible processes: 1. Acute Shame Avoidance Behaviour; 2. Chronic Shame Health-Related Behaviours; 3. Stigma and Social Status Threat; and 4. Biological Mechanisms. We conclude with a proposal for a research agenda that aims to extend the state of knowledge of health-related shame”

Fredrik Nyman (Durham University) Taking sociality and locality as seriously as we do ‘bio’: Early thoughts on the biosocial aspects of support groups for people with chronic breathlessness in northern England

Sarah Atkinson (Durham University) Not Fitting In: Experiences of Living with Multiple Morbidity “accounts of those living with so-called ‘multimorbidity’ document…an integrated embodied experience rather than…a set of discrete conditions [and] breach and blur the boundaries and categories that are fundamental to diagnosis…they must continually rework their experiences into acceptable formats for presentation [to] Clinicians [whose] specific aim is to try to isolate particular diagnoses from others ”

3b) Lifewriting & Metaphor
Sue Vice (University of Sheffield) Dementia as Cultural Metaphor in Holocaust Narratives “Holocaust survivors are so closely associated with the importance of memory that the concept of a survivor who cannot remember, or whose suppressed memories resurface as if in present time, is troubling and fascinating. The representation of dementia prompts ontological questions about personhood and communication, while also demanding experimentation with narrative form.In Holocaust art, dementia… allows for the emergence of different temporalities, locations and languages in a single moment; raises questions about the relationship between trauma and memory; complicates second- and third-generation postmemory; and exaggerates the notion of an incommunicable or secret past. Dementia among survivors generates a specifically Holocaust-related ‘cultural metaphor’.”

Katrina Longhurst (University of Leeds) Collaborative Telling and Interactive Memory in Contemporary Mental Health Life Writing “Lauren Slater’s second memoir, Welcome to my Country (1996) is a compilation of tales, each centred on the relationship between Slater, in her role as clinical psychologist, and a patient. Slater argues that the text is a memoir on the basis that so much of her exploration of self emerges through the connections with another in the therapeutic encounter. She therefore uses her patients’ stories, and the narrative of her relationship with them, as vehicles by which to indirectly tell her own history of mental illness and abuse. By emphasising moments of reciprocity, identification, and interconnection Slater foregrounds relationships as spaces from which life writing emerges.

Mimi Huang (Northumbria University) Narrative modulation and meaning construction in the storytelling of women with breast cancer “First-hand accounts of breast cancer survivors’ experiences in going through the transitional periods provide valuable insights into the ways individuals perceive, conceptualize and negotiate life-changing events in their life journeys…With a focus on meaning construction, this paper proposes “narrative modulation” that functions to regulate, adjust and advance storylines and their associated themes…considers conceptual metaphors [and] the performative stance of storytelling.

3c) Provocations Chair: Angela Woods
Natalie Riley (Durham University) Cognition and Theoria “I contest Colebrook’s claim that work between the cognitive sciences and the humanities comprises a simple appeal to legitimating biological truths…highlighting the importance of a broader dialogue with other branches of critical theory ”
Diana Beljaars (Cardiff University) A vitalist ethics and spatial imagination of compulsivity? “explores the idea of imagining compulsivity as both producer and product of an emergent relationship between the human body and its surroundings [and] hopes to incite new ways of understanding and alleviating the suffering purported by compulsivity”
Louise Mackenzie (Northumbria University) Art Practice in the Laboratory: Imposition as Methodology “ I use synthetic biology techniques to understand more deeply the implications of biotechnology as a form of art practice – a ‘thinking through making’ (Ingold, 2013).The work sits within the Cultural Negotiation of Science (CNoS) research group based at Northumbria University. The group takes a performative approach to the production of knowledge that actively challenges the use of art as an instrumental or illustrative device to interpret science”
Caitlin Stobie (University of Leeds) White Elephants in the Room, or, New Materialism and Abortion Narratives I”argue that such reproductive issues should be addressed by interdisciplinary and intersectional research. The abortion debate revolves around issues of personhood – when a foetus [has] gained personal agency. Rhetoric draws attention away from the physical capabilities of the zygote in the present, and focuses instead on its future potential as an autonomous human being. Simultaneously, the abortion debate highlights the agency – or lack thereof – of the person who is pregnant…This provocation does not adhere to the typical conflation of humanity with personhood [but] suggests that we should reconceive of the very notion of agency. To best represent this, and the transformative potential of a truly feminist new materialism, I refer to a range of literary abortions”
Lena Wånggren (University of Edinburgh) Working conditions, health, and illness in the contemporary university

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