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Medical humanities: lineage, excursionary sketch and rationale
  1. Brian Hurwitz
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brian Hurwitz, Centre for the Humanities and Health (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/innovation/groups/chh/index.aspx), King's College London, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway, London WC2B 6NR, UK; brian.hurwitz{at}kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

Medical Humanities the journal started life in 2000 as a special edition of the JME. However, the intellectual taproots of the medical humanities as a field of enquiry can be traced to two developments: calls made in the 1920s for the development of multidisciplinary perspectives on the sciences that shed historical light on their assumptions, methods and practices; refusals to assimilate all medical phenomena to a biomedical worldview. Medical humanities the term stems from a desire to situate the significance of medicine as a product of culture. But despite growing usage over half a century the term defies a unifying encapsulation and continues to conjure up a multitude of discourse communities, including scholars working at the interfaces of health and humanities, arts and health, and medical education and bioethics. The field is intellectually capacious and polymorphous, forming and reforming around critical new research questions and teaching tasks spanning disciplines.

  • Ethics

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