Medical Humanities Discussion Group

Medical Humanities Discussion Group –  School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow

Chair: Dr Cheryl McGeachan

All Sessions will take place between 1-2pm.

Wednesday 24th February 2016

Session 5 – Bedlam and Beyond: Madhouse Tourism in the 18th Century

Professor Alexander Kosenina (Leibniz-University Hanover, Germany)

In the 18th Century, Scottish shortbread and whisky, English tea and porter had a profile no higher in Western Europe than the idea and concept of Bedlam. This asylum in central London was one of the most popular attractions among travellers to Britain: Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Sophie von La Roche and Heinrich Heine are only a few prominent visitors who reported, shocked and thrilled, their observations of the freak-show. Bedlam was a landmark of Enlightenment anthropology  as well as a public school of early psychiatry, hospitalisation and social rehabilitation. The fashion of madhouse tourism originated in Bedlam and demonstrated a new interest in the inner nature of man and of mankind through the study of extreme behaviour. Some European examples will be discussed during this talk to provide a better understanding of the fascination of representing excentricities and even psychiatric ›cases‹ in art and literature.

Discussant: Professor Chris Philo (School of Geographical & Earth Sciences)


Wednesday 9th March 2016

Session 6 – Inequality in Medical Science Fiction

Dr. Anna Mcfarlane (School of Critical Studies)

In both literary theory and science fiction studies posthumanism has emerged as an important discourse over the last decade or so. Posthumanism offers tantalising philosophical propositions and seems to open up new possibilities for individual and social organisation by sloughing off humanistic preconceptions and prejudices. Medical progress is often used to illustrate philosophical and popular explanations of the posthuman as it increasingly offers longevity and augmentation, ostensibly illustrating new ways of being beyond the ‘human’. However, this posthuman discourse is rarely grounded in the material, equal availability of such medical advances, an issue which seems in theory to be confined to entirely different spheres; public health, sociology, politics, etc. I will discuss some examples of medical science fiction (including GATTACA [1998], Elysium [2013] and Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours [2014]) in order to show how science fiction attempts to bridge these discourses, combining posthuman concerns with material, political considerations.

Discussant: Professor Jo Sharp (School of Geographical & Earth Sciences)


Wednesday March 16th 2016

Session 7 – Professor Michael Barrett (Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation)

Professor Barrett will give an overview in the Medical Humanities on what we do in Polyomics and possible areas of interaction and invites discussion and collaboration with these ideas.



The meetings will all take place in Room 311 in the East Quadrangle. Tea/coffee and biscuits will be provided.

east quad map

ges map

Please enter through the first turret:




And walk upstairs (a lift is available if required to the right of this picture)

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