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Durham University

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Previous Events

List of months

Thursday 10 December 2015

CMH Affiliates Lunches 2015-2016

12:00pm to 2:00pm, St Chad's College, Durham, Dr Patrick Zuk and Dr Michael Mack

Thursday 10th December 2015, 12-2pm at St Chad’s College, Durham

We are delighted to announce that the speakers at the next CMH Affiliates’ Lunch will be Dr Patrick Zuk (Music) and Dr Michael Mack (English). Patrick will give an overview of his recent work on music and trauma. Michael will present a paper entitled “On Scandal: The Wound of Pasolini”, based on his forthcoming book Contaminations, developing a theory of contamination out of the Italian film-maker’s usage of the term scandal.

We look forward to seeing you there. All are welcome, so please do extend the invitation to colleagues you think might be interested. A buffet lunch will be provided.

Please contact Jane Abel if you would like to attend.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

'We are our Corpse' - The Changing Legal and Ethical Status of the Dead Body in Late Nineteenth Century Medicine

2:00pm to 3:00pm, Durham, Elvet Riverside, ER 148, Tinne Claes

This Research Lecture organised by the Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease and the Philosophy Department's Science, Medicine and Society (HPSM) Cluster: 


Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 2.00 pm, Durham, Elvet Riverside, ER 148


Medical historians have suggested that the nineteenth-century hospital operated according to a social contract. Care financed by the rich had to be repaid, either by financial or by natural means. Indigent patients paid their debts to society with the knowledge contained in their bodies. In the same way their bodies could be used for medical experiments and clinical education, their corpses could be dissected, collected and preserved in the name of medical science. In this system, the corpse was regarded as an alienable property. It was considered no different from 'inherited furniture or jewelry', objects that could also be confiscated by the hospital, despite the sentimental value families might attach to them.

In late-nineteenth-century Belgium, however, this logic was increasingly contested. Dismissed as an instance of class justice, the forced dissection of the poor was put on the political agenda by the growing socialist party. Scandals about clandestine dissections gave rise to public protest. Legal experts argued that the corpse could not be seen as an economic commodity, because it was an inalienable part of the individual. While international debates emerged on the need for consent for medical treatments and surgeries, the physician also lost his grip on the pauper corpse. By analyzing the late-nineteenth-century controversy on the status of the corpse in multiple contexts -social, political, legal, cultural, medical - I will show how the relation between the hospital and the indigent patient started to change in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Patients began to obtain the power of disposal of their own body, both before and after death.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

CMH/WRI Postgrad/ECR Meeting

4:00pm to 5:30pm, The Williams' Library, St. Chad’s College, North Bailey, Durham

CMH/WRI Postgrad/ECR Meeting

Wednesday 2nd December 2015, 4-5.30pm, The Williams' Library, St. Chad’s College, North Bailey, Durham

Topic: Mental Illness and Mental Wellbeing

The next meeting of the CMH Postgraduate / Early Career Researcher Medical Humanities Network will take place on Wednesday 2nd December, 4-5.30pm. This meeting of the postgrad/ECR medical humanities discussion group will examine some of the various dimensions of mental illness and mental wellbeing within the medical humanities and related disciplines. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Stress
  • Depression and melancholia
  • Mental capacity
  • Stigma relating to mental illness
  • Cultural constructions of madness
  • Personality disorders
  • Mindfulness
  • Artistic practice and mental wellbeing
  • Free time and mental health

The meeting will open with a number of short presentations and then lead into a wider discussion about the issues raised. We are looking for two or three 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 Fraser Riddell ( if you are interested in presenting and in order to register your attendance. Tea/coffee and cakes will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you there - new members are always very welcome!

Contact for more information about this event.