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The CHCI Health Humanities Summer Institute 2016, “The Health Humanities Now,” is organized by The Centre for the Humanities and Health and the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes.

The second CHCI Summer Institute in the Health Humanities will take place at King’s College London on Sunday 26 and Monday 27 June 2016. The Summer Institute aims to gather scholars and practitioners from all over the world in the burgeoning field of the health humanities. The focus of this year’s sessions will be on the Health Humanities Now and aims to showcase some of the most innovative and pioneering work taking place in the health humanities today. We will include sessions on what the humanities might have to say about the recent outbreak of Ebola and the continuing impact of health emergencies in the developing world and in the Middle East. What do humanities disciplines have to contribute to public discussion of these matters? Papers will also be commissioned on the emerging “critical health humanities” and on mental health. What are the (often conflicting) values that motivate our work? A special session will be set aside for graduate students in the field.

We have constructed this two-day Institute to emphasize conversation and discussion. We have timed the Institute so that delegates may, if they wish, attend the CHCI Annual Meeting which is also being held in London from 28 June to 1 July 2016. The Health Humanities Summer Institute is limited to 100 participants, and our goal is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and views. We want to build upon the structure created by the six humanities centers participating in the Mellon-funded consortial project to include a more extensive network of scholars, researchers, and practitioners in this growing field.

For the full conference program, click here.

Professor Jane Thrailkill will be giving the keynote address. The abstract of her lecture may be found below:

“Just as titles like “The Limits of Empathy” and “After Empathy” are populating humanities conferences, academic medicine is embracing empathy as essential to clinical competence. Yet efforts to put empathy to use in healthcare has in turn produced a sub-genre of clinical humor that pokes fun at the instrumentalization of feeling. This paper takes the tension between empathy and what Henri Bergson called “the comic spirit” as the occasion to explore how dark humor, which uses incongruity to point up social and structural absurdities, might serve as a productive mode of cognition and critique. The difficult question, from a health humanities perspective, is whether the “comic frame” (to use Kenneth Burke’s term) merely produces a site for illumination — and possibly subversion — of medical-bureaucratic norms or also provides space for essential conversations about patient care, clinical competence, and compassion.”

Additionally, Molly Brewer, masters student in occupational therapy and Kym Weed, PhD student in English will present their results from the Falls Study along with their advisor and fellow traveler, Sue Coppola.

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