1st Edition

Medicine, Health and Being Human

Edited By Lesa Scholl Copyright 2018
    276 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages
    by Routledge

    Medicine, Health and Being Human begins a conversation to explore how the medical has defined us: that is, the ways in which perspectives of medicine and health have affected cultural understandings of what it means to be human.

    With chapters that span from the early modern period through to the contemporary world, and are drawn from a range of disciplines, this volume holds that incremental historical and cultural influences have brought about an understanding of humanity in which the medical is ingrained, consciously or unconsciously, usually as a mode of legitimisation. Divided into three parts, the book follows a narrative path from the integrity of the human soul, through to the integrity of the material human body, then finally brought together through engaging with end-of-life responses. Part 1 examines the move from spirituality to psychiatry in terms of the way medical science has influenced cultural understandings of the mind. Part 2 interrogates the role that medicine has played in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in constructing and deconstructing the self and other, including the fusion of visual objectivity and the scientific gaze in constructing perceptions of humanity. Part 3 looks at the limits of medicine when the integrity of one body breaks down. It contends with the ultimate question of the extent to which humanity is confined within the integrity of the human body, and how medicine and the humanities work together toward responding to the finality of death.

    This is a valuable contribution for all those interested in the medical humanities, history of medicine, history of ideas and the social approaches to health and illness.

    PART I: Situating the soul, self and mind

    1. Physicians and the soul: medicine and spirituality in

    seventeenth-century England MICHELLE PFEFFER

    2. Hearing differently: medical, modern and medieval

    approaches to sound BONNIE MILLAR

    3. Sensing the self in the wandering mind HAZEL MORRISON

    4. Soul searching: psychiatry's influence on seltbood PATRICK


    5. Faith in healing: evidence-based medicine, the placebo effect

    and Afro-Brazilian healing rituals HANNAH LESSHAFFT

    PART II: Socio-medical narratives

    6. Voices in medicine: ethics, human rights and medical

    experimentation JENNIFER GREENWOOD

    7. The cost of efficiency in Great War nursing literature


    8. Negotiating wonders: medical-triggered redefinitions of

    humanity in popular fiction ANNA GASPERINI

    9. The human ideal and the real: artistic vision and anatomical


    10. Medical imaging and the intrusive gaze CATHERINE


    PART III: Limits of medical intervention

    11. The fairytale narratives of plastic surgery makeover TV

    shows in South Korea: surgical metamorphosis, the "surgical

    gaze," and the permeability of medical knowledge CARMEN


    12. "John-o is interested in cutting up whatever he finds at

    the limits of life": monstrous anatomies and the production of

    the human body in Alasdair Gray's Poor Things and Hilary

    Mantel's The Giant, O'Brien KATHRYN BIRD

    13. In Lady Delacour's shadow: women patients and breast

    cancer in short fiction APRIL PATRICK

    14. "My lawful wife and mistress": a physician's perspective


    15. A humanistic perspective on the healing power of language

    at the end of life: restoration of the self through words and



    Lesa Scholl teaches in the School of Communication and Arts, University of Queensland, Australia.