Medical Humanities at King’s College London: An Integrative Meeting

When: 30th June and 1st July 2014
Where: Royal College of Physicians of London

Since 2009 the Centre for the Humanities and Health (CHH) at King’s has conducted a multi-stranded research programme entitled ‘The Boundaries of Illness’ funded by the Wellcome Trust. The programme has consisted of six distinct yet overlapping strands of work grounded in a variety of disciplines:
• Distress and disorder (philosophy and psychiatry)
• Concepts of health (philosophy)
• Nursing and identity: Crossing borders (nursing, literature and film studies)
• Cultural and historical forces in psychiatric diagnoses (psychiatry, history of medicine)
• Illness narrative (literature)
• Case studies of medical portraiture (history of art).

The purpose of this meeting is to share our findings with the wider Medical Humanities community, explore intellectual exchange between strands and initiate further cross-disciplinary working in the field. The PIs on the award, PhD students and postdocs, will put their work into the wider context of the Medical Humanities to focus on the question of integration itself and why it seems an important issue within the field today.

Monday June 30th Council Room
08.50 – 09.15 Registration with tea & coffee

09.15 – 10.00 Welcome and introductions Brian Hurwitz

10.00 – 11.30 Distress and disorder
Speaker: Derek Bolton
Respondent: MM McCabe
Chair: Silvia Camporesi

11.30 – 11.45 Tea and coffee

11.45 – 13.15 Concepts of health
Speaker: MM McCabe
Respondent: Derek Bolton
Chair: Brian Hurwitz

13.15 – 14.15 Lunch
Tour of portraits and exhibition
Ludmilla Jordanova and Keren Hammerschlag

14.15 – 15.45 Nursing and identity: Crossing Borders
Speakers: Anne Marie Rafferty, Jessica Howell
& Elisabetta Babini
Respondent: Edgar Jones
Chair: James Whitehead

15.45 – 16.00 Tea and coffee

16.00 – 17.30 Cultural and historical influences on psychiatric diagnosis
Speakers: Edgar Jones, Bonnie Evans, Stefanie Linden
Respondent: Anne Marie Rafferty
Chair: Keren Hammerschlag

17.30 – 17.45 Refreshment Break

17.45 – 19.00 Keynote: Medical Humanities and the Idea of Democratic Criticism
Stuart Murray, Professor of Contemporary Literatures and Film and Director of the Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities followed by questions and discussion.
Chair: Brian Hurwitz

19.00 – 20.30 Drinks

Tuesday July 1st Dorchester Library

09.10 – 09.30 Arrival tea & coffee

09.30 – 10.30 PhD and Postdoctoral Session

Speakers: Emma Bullock, Silvia Camporesi, Monika Class,
Keren Hammerschlag, Jessica Howell, Elselijn Kingma, Maria Vaccarella, James Whitehead
Respondent: Ludmilla Jordanova
Chair: Ben Chisnall

10.30 – 11.30 Tour of portraits and exhibition
Ludmilla Jordanova and Keren Hammerschlag

11.30 – 11.45 Tea & coffee

11.45 – 13.15 Illness narratives
Speaker: Neil Vickers
Respondent: Ludmilla Jordanova
Chair: Jessica Howell

13.15 – 14.15 Lunch

14.15 – 15.45 Case studies of medical portraiture
Speaker: Ludmilla Jordanova
Respondent: Neil Vickers
Chair: Elselijn Kingma

15.45 – 16.00 Tea and coffee

16.00 – 17.00 Cross strand synergies: the Medical Humanities today
Discussion led by Alan Cribb, Professor of Bioethics & Education, Co-director of the Centre for Public Policy Research, King’s College London

This event is by invitation only. For any inquiries please email Sabrina Beck:

Philosophy of Medicine seminar, April 29th: Dr Barry Smith on ‘The Ontology of Disease’

When: 29th April, 13.30 – 15.00,

Dr Barry Smith

Dr Barry Smith

Where: Virginia Woolf Building (22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6NR), Room 6.32

Speaker: Barry Smith, University at Buffalo

Title: ‘The Ontology of Disease

Abstract: A recent paper in the journal Healthcare Informatics Research identifies a paradigm shift – ‘from concept representations to ontologies’ – in the ways medical terminologies and vocabularies are used to describe medical data [1]. I will describe what this paradigm shift involves, what it means to talk about ‘ontologies’ in the medical context, and how such talk relates to the traditional concerns of philosophical ontologists. I shall conclude with an ontological definition of disease, and illustrations of how this definition can be applied to a range of clinical examples.

[1] See

For any question contact the convenor of the series, Dr Emma Bullock:

Philosophy of Medicine seminar Feb 11: Dr Kengo Miyazono on ‘Delusion and Harmful Dysfunction Analysis’

We are delighted to invite you to our next philosophy of medicine seminar that will be held tomorrow, 11th February, 13.30 – 15.00, Virginia Woolf Building, Room 7.17 (Building F on the map)

Our speaker will be Dr Kengo Miyazono, Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham. Dr Miyazono will give a paper titled “Delusion and Harmful Dysfunction Analysis“.

Abstract: According to Wakefield’s Harmful Dysfunction Analysis (HDA), which is one of the most influential accounts of disorder, a disorder is a harmful dysfunction, where “dysfunction” is the failure of performing etiological function. The aim of this talk is to defend HDA as the account of the pathological nature of delusion. For this purpose, I will show that the major challenges (coming from adaptationism about delusion, spandrelism about belief, and “doxastic shear pin” account of delusion) do not cause serious problems for HDA for delusion. Also, I will discuss a seeming incompatibility between HDA and teleosemantics, which is the leading account of mental content in philosophy of mind.

You can read more about the speaker by looking at Dr Kengo Miyazono’s personal website here.

Upcoming seminars

4th March 2014: Phyllis Illari (University College London)

18th March 2014: Charlotte Blease (University College Dublin)

25th March 2014: Matthew Ratcliffe (Durham University)

29th April 2014: Barry Smith (University at Buffalo)

6th May 2014: Anna Bergqvist (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Any questions contact the convenor of the series, Dr Emma Bullock: