Spirituality, Religion and the Medical Humanities

Postgraduate/ECR Network meeting, Durham, 13 March 2014

reblogged from here.

Spirituality, Religion and the Medical Humanities
Durham Centre for Medical Humanities / Wolfson PostGraduate & Early Career Research Network Meeting
Thursday 13 March 2014, 2 pm – 3:30 pm
Collier Room, Hild and Bede College, Durham University

Note: We are still looking for 1 or 2 people to give a very informal opening talk (5-8 minutes) on an aspect of their research that speaks to these themes.  Contact Jenny if you are interested in speaking, and also to register your attendance!

The fourth meeting of the postgrad/ early career medical humanities discussion groupis upon us. This meeting will explore the relationships between religious belief, illness, healthcare and healing – from spiritual sicknesses and spiritual ‘cures’ to the role that religious communities can contribute to the care of the ill and fragile.  Developing the overarching CMH discussion series themes of ‘knowing’ and ‘researching’ in the medical humanities, the session will ask what space do we find for spirituality and religion in our research and (for those not working directly in this area), can we, do we and ought we engage with our subject matters at a spiritual level?

Indicative questions might include but are not limited to –

  • Can religious or secular beliefs really be incorporated into secular frameworks of health research and healthcare delivery? What are the epistemological, ethical, or practical challenges?
  • How can we understand the relations between spiritual belief and the lived experiences of illness and recovery?  If illness can sometimes lead to spiritual growth, would this therefore make illness ‘worthwhile’?
  • What do we do with non-conventional spiritual experience in health and illness?  Is it reasonable to understand some kinds of religious experience themselves as a kind of ‘illness’?
  • What space is there for our own spirituality as researchers or practitioners in a health related environment?  What are the challenges of being a spiritual – or non-spiritual – being in a professional academic context?

Once again, we are looking for one or two volunteers to provide an informal opening presentation on an aspect of their research which speaks to the theme of this session (5-8 minutes).   Please reply to Jenny Laws if you are interested in presenting, and also to register your attendance for purposes of cake and tea.

At this session there is also the possibility to get involved with a small group of early career scholars looking to develop a larger inter-institutional conference on this theme – if you can’t attend the session but are interested to know more, get in touch.

We look forward to seeing many of you next week – new members always welcome.

Dr Jenny Laws, Network convenor

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