Reviewer Needed: ‘Reimagining Global Health: An introduction’ (2013) by Paul Farmer et al

With the view to posting a special edition of the medical humanities in global health, expressions of interest are welcome to review ‘Reimagining global health’. The book has been pieced together by some of the most high profile and courageous academics working in this contested field (Farmer, Kim, Kleinman and Basilico).

‘Bringing toreimagining global healthgether the experience, perspective, and expertise of Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim, and Arthur Kleinman, and drawing on a course developed by their student Matthew Basilico, Reimagining Global Health provides an original, compelling introduction to the field of global health.

The case studies presented throughout Reimagining Global Health bring together ethnographic, theoretical, and historical perspectives into a wholly new and exciting investigation of global health. The interdisciplinary approach outlined in this text should prove useful not only in schools of public health, nursing, and medicine, but also in undergraduate and graduate classes in anthropology, sociology, political economy, and history.’

We are particularly keen to hear from students, academics and professionals working in the area of ‘global health’, as well as creative thinkers and writers from the wider online community.

If you would like to write a review on ‘Reimagining global health'(approximately 1,000-1,500 words in length), then please email our reviews editor with a short explanation of why you are well placed to review the book.

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We’re Moving!

The Centre for Medical Humanities blog launched in September 2010 and has grown into a vibrant resource for medical humanities researchers, students, clinicians, arts-in-health practitioners, artists and general readers from around the world. Our 1,293 posts have been viewed 231,400 times and reach the inboxes and twitter feeds of over 3000 people.

Blog editors Angela Woods, Will Viney and Felicity Callard are delighted to announce the imminent launch of our new Centre for Medical Humanities blog at Existing content has all been transferred, but further news, updates and insights about medical humanities research will be found here

Subscribers to this blog will have their subscriptions automatically transferred in the coming days, but please do update your bookmarks to the new site.

Thank you for your interest in and support of the CMH blog, and we hope you will continue to visit us in our new incarnation!

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Musings From The Day Room – Mike White Reflects On Chemotherapy, Lanterns, Austerity & Mortality

Mike White‘s diary entry reads: 9th.January. I am up the Northern Centre for Cancer Care this morning for my chemo breakfast, the Special K in my treatment plan.  The day room is furnished like the lobby of a budget hotel with vinyl armchairs in alternate pink and purple. Here 20 or so of us sit with our lines in, reading the papers or talking in hushed tones with our partners/companions. De Quincey in his Confessions (1821) describes his wife as his ‘amanuensis’ through the pains of opium, which I used to think was the peak of Romantic chauvinism benefitting from a classical education.  Now I can appreciate the intimate comfort of such relationship and I welcome Catherine’s role play as the private secretary on my own cancer campaign trail. Cliché suggests the trail is a rollercoaster ride but I would settle for a whirling teacup and a tad less nausea.

When the chemo drip feed is complete the unit emits a disconcerting beep like an HGV alarm. I half expect it to announce “Attention! This vehicle is reversing”, which I suppose it is metaphorically, restoring my body to a pre-metastasis state with a knackered carcinoma. How quickly one picks up the snippets of medical lingo.

It is iPads-a-go-go in here as several of us are absorbed in our Christmas presents. I just got an e-mail from my dear friend Margret Meagher of Arts and Health Australia who tells me her beloved Labrador died on Boxing Day in the midst of a family reunion. She frets that religious dogma has restrictions on pets passing over, but I respond that any worthwhile after-life should include all we have loved wisely and well, and so I cannot believe there is a sign on the pearly gates warning “no dogs allowed and keep off the grass”. I mean, God must be a dog-lover – they share the same Scrabble letters. Do not mistake all this for idle musing – this is a hyper-real me, on drugs and multi-tasking.

Just like a reversible hat, what a difference a day makes.  Yesterday at this time I was passing over flooded fenlands en route for – a-ha! – Norwich, musing (again) on that new entry in our political as well as meteorological vocabulary, ‘the polar vortex’, as the Treasury’s brash announcement sinks in that £25 billion more is to be stripped from our quality of life index. And there I was preparing a pep-talk on evaluating the sustainability of Norfolk’s new arts in health initiative.

Current events are teaching me it is best to sustain some dual thinking for keeping attention both near-to-home and far ahead and not let the bastards narrow one’s horizon. Next week I am helping host CMH’s long-planned lanterns colloquium, the first of its kind (?) and our contribution to Durham’s Institute of Advanced Studies 2014 inter-disciplinary theme of ‘Light’. Indeed it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

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Social Foundations of Health: Applications for Vanderbilt MA Programme Now Open

The Center for Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University is accepting applications to the M.A. program in the Social Foundations of Health.

The Vanderbilt University Center for Medicine, Health, and Society is a cutting-edge research and teaching center that boasts a growing cohort of interdisciplinary scholars, an expanding, innovative undergraduate and graduate curriculum, and a vibrant new center space. The center has quickly become a hub for pioneering research and teaching, providing students and the community at large with a critical framework for understanding complex health and healthcare issues.

The MA in the Social Foundations of Health emphasizes health disparities, interdisciplinary research, and critical perspectives on health and illness. The topically and methodologically broad curriculum draws on anthropology, history, psychology, sociology, ethics, policy studies, economics as well as Vanderbilt’s schools of medicine, nursing, law and public health. Through faculty research collaborations, students will acquire foundational skills that will help them pursue careers, or advanced degrees, in a wide array of health-related fields. Successful applicants are eligible for teaching assistantships and tuition scholarships.

Applications for fall 2014 admission are due January 15, 2014. Visit our website or contact us directly at to learn more about our program and the admissions process.

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Medical and Merchant networks: Ireland, Spain, and Spanish America (PhD Funding, Queen’s University Belfast)

One Department for Employment & Learning (DEL) award is available for full-time postgraduate PhD research in the School of Modern Languages, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Queen’s University Belfast.

Project title: Medical and Merchant networks: Ireland, Spain, and Spanish America

Supervised by: Dr Fiona Clark (Lecturer in Latin American Studies, School of Modern Languages) and Prof. Mary O’Dowd (Professor of Gender History, School of History and Anthropology).

Recent decades have seen an increased interested, within the field of Irish migration studies, in the links between Ireland, Spain and Spanish America. Whilst significant attention has been paid to the exodus of Irish to the English Americas and even to Spain, less is known about their movements in the 18th century within the broader Spanish Empire. In terms of medical practitioners particularly, much is still unknown about the individuals who chose to forge a career in non-English speaking foreign lands. The current project aims to explore the importance and breadth of medical and social networks open to Irish Catholics in the pursuit of successful medical careers within the late-colonial Spanish empire, including links to key merchant networks, and to analyse their impact on the transfer of scientific knowledge. By studying central players, such as the Irish physician, Timoteo O’Scanlan, a leading and yet largely unstudied figure in Spain with links to government, merchant networks, and the Irish in Spanish America, the project will seek to highlight the linguistic and relational functions of a particularly Irish identity framework, and to analyse the idea of a ‘discourse of migration’ wherein portrayal of national identity shifts depending on the demands of the local power structures; the manipulation of expressions and terms of identity linked to political, confessional, and educational alliances or frameworks. The skills necessary for this work demand a collaborative effort between specialists in Irish and Spanish culture and history, as well as bi-lingual abilities (native or near-native fluency in Spanish and English).

Any interested candidates should check eligibility and application process details for the DEL Strategic Award on the School of Modern Languages site.

Closing Date: 17 February 2014  at  5.00pm.  Applicants must contact the lead supervisor Dr Fiona Clark before submission

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Reading Group on the Pseudo/Sciences of the Long Nineteenth Century (Newcastle, 20 January 2014)

In what ways did reading character off the skull in phrenology contribute to the birth of neuropsychology? How was the spectacle of the trance in mesmerism linked to the emergence of electricity, magnetism and psychoanalysis? What were the connections between the spiritualist seance, the telegraph and the telephone?

These are some of the questions the reading group on Pseudo/Science in the Long Nineteenth Century will address. We will explore the notions of ‘science’ and ‘pseudoscience’, the slippery borders between the two, and the ways in which what was deemed central or marginal to scientific practice, and who was defined as insider or outsider, was contingent on the cultural climate of the times. Why were people in the nineteenth century so fascinated with hidden forces and vibrations? In what ways were the spiritual and the psychical intertwined with the physical and with developing technologies of the age?

This reading group is a collaboration between Newcastle University School of English and the Literary and Philosophical Society. The group will meet six times a year at the Lit and Phil. Each session will be introduced by a member of the group or an invited guest who will have identified a primary text and a secondary critical reading for the group to consider.

You are warmly invited to attend the first session on Monday, 20 January 2014 between 6.00 and 7.30 pm at the Lit and Phil. Andrew Shail, Senior Lecturer in Film and English Literature, will introduce ‘John Zollner, Henry Slade and the fourth dimension’.

For more information and to download the readings please visit our  website.

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Space and Place in the Health Humanities, plus a Masterclass on the Geography of a Dance Intervention – Prof Sarah Atkinson (Seminar, Edinburgh, 23 Jan 2014)

The sixth Scottish Health Humanities Seminar and Masterclass will be on Thursday 23 January 2014.

Prof Sarah Atkinson, Deptartment of Geography, Durham University. Co-Director of Belief, Understanding and Wellbeing, Wolfson Research Institute, and Associate Director, Centre for Medical Humanities

Public Seminar: Space and Place in the Health and Medical Humanities
Thursday 23 January 2014, 3:30-5:00pm
The Old Library, Drummond Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP

Masterclass: Moments of Transition: the Geography of a Dance Intervention
Thursday 23 January 2014, 6:00-7:30pm
Room G.04 Doorway 6, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG

The arts and health field has given much of its attention to demonstrating the value of the arts to health and wellbeing. However, less attention has been given to how the benefits of the arts may come about. Drawing on geographical theorisations of moments of transition, the seminar will explore the nature of wellbeing and the processes of change through a case study of a dance and movement intervention in a primary school. Please note that registration via email is required for the evening masterclass.


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Health Inequalities Research Network (HERON) (CfP, Conference, London, 14-15 May 2014).

The first Health Inequalities Research Network (HERON) Conference will be held on 14-15th May 2014 in London, England at the Coin St Neighbourhood Centre. HERON is an international network founded in 2010. It aims to develop and promote interactions between health practitioners, researchers and community members and representatives to enable a more collaborative approach to action and research in inequalities in health and health service use at national and community levels.

The conference will feature the distinguished keynote speaker, Dr. David Williams (Harvard University; Florence Sprague Norman & Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology).

We invite submissions for presentations on the following themes within health inequalities research:

  • Comparing local and national disparities
  • Public involvement or engagement in research
  • Cross-country comparative studies
  • Life-course epidemiology
  • Physical and mental health co-morbidity
  • Neighbourhood contexts
  • Structural discrimination and health
  • Minority stress and health
  • Young people’s health
  • Ethnicity, migration and health
  • Gendered health
  • Sexual health
  • Health service use

We invite you to submit an application (max. 4000 characters including spaces) for oral or poster presentation. You must provide sufficient information for evaluation of the merit of the presentation using the abstract submission form.  To be considered for presentation, applications must be received by the submission deadline, 3rd February 2014. Please send submissions electronically to A limited number of travel bursaries will be available to UK and international graduate, post-graduate and post-doctoral (max. 2 years after completion) students/researchers. Please complete the travel bursary application form to be considered for the receipt of funding.

The conference is being organised as a part of the ESRC/NIH funded US-UK Comparison of Discrimination & Disparities in Health & Health Service Use study (Drs Stephani Hatch and Bruce Link, PIs). Further information regarding the conference, including registration, submission guidelines and information about the HERON conference advisory committee, can be found on our website.

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Reviewer needed: ‘The anthropology of alternative medicine’ (2012) by Annamaria Iosif Ross

AAM‘Alternative medicine is not a fashionable new trend but an established cultural strategy, as well as a dynamic feature of mainstream contemporary medicine, in which elements of folk traditions are often blended with Western scientific approaches.

The anthropology of alternative medicine is a concise yet wide-ranging exploration of non-biomedical healing. The book addresses a broad range of practices including: substance, energy and information flows (such as helminthic therapy); spirit, consciousness and trance (shamanism, for example); body, movement and the senses (reiki and aromatherapy); as well as classical medical traditions as compliments or alternatives to Western biomedicine (such as Ayurveda).

Exploring the cultural underpinnings of contemporary healing methods, while assessing current ideas, topics and resources for further study, this book will be invaluable to undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology, sociology, psychology, and health-related professions such as nursing, physical and occupational therapy, and biomedicine.’

Expressions of interest are welcome from students, academics and professionals at the seem line of medicine and the humanities, as well as creative thinkers and writers from the wider online community. If you would like to write a review on ‘The anthropology of alternative medicine’ (approximately 1,000-1,500 words in length), then please email our reviews editor with a short explanation of why you are well placed to review the book. Snapped up! Stay tuned for more review calls soon.

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Co-Producing Knowledge on Health, Wellbeing and Place through Participatory Research (CfP session at the RGS 2014 Conference, London 26-29 August 2014)

Royal Geographic Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference
Geographies of co-production
London, Tuesday 26 to Friday 29 August 2014

Call for Papers for a session entitled: Co-Producing Knowledge on Health, Wellbeing and Place through Participatory Research

Session Sponsor: Geography of Health Research Group

This session will bring together researchers who are exploring the links between health and place through co-produced research. The term co-production has gained prominence in the health and social care field in recent years (Munoz, 2013) – representing a shift towards self-management; a more collaborative relationship between service providers and recipients and non-state delivery of health and care services (van Eijk and Steen, 2013). However, we can also think of co-production within the research process itself and the production of knowledge on health and place (Durose et. al., 2013). In this session, we invite researchers to reflect on questions of how and why they have engaged in participatory research on health and place in order to co-produce knowledge on health geographies. The session will explore the benefits and drawbacks of different methods; how impacts have been produced and captured; the outputs and outcomes from this type of co-production and the types of knowledge it can produce. We will consider the ways that this knowledge has been translated into health policy and practice, as well as more traditional academic outputs. We invite traditional presentations but also researchers who would like to ‘demonstrate’ their experiences by engaging the audience in display /use of the participatory methods they have employed.

Please send proposed abstracts to Dr. Sarah-Anne Munoz, University of the Highlands and Islands, by January 31st 2014.


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