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Read an interview with Karen Thornber.

In Global Healing: Literature, Advocacy, Care, Karen Laura Thornber analyzes how narratives from diverse communities globally engage with a broad variety of diseases and other serious health conditions and advocate for empathic, compassionate, and respectful care that facilitates healing and enables wellbeing.

The three parts of this book discuss writings from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania that implore societies to shatter the devastating social stigmas which prevent billions from accessing effective care; to increase the availability of quality person-focused healthcare; and to prioritize partnerships that facilitate healing and enable wellbeing for both patients and loved ones.

Thornber’s Global Healing remaps the contours of comparative literature, world literature, the medical humanities, and the health humanities.

Watch a video interview with Thornber by the Mahindra Humanities Center, part of their conversations on Covid-19.

Read an interview with Thornber on Brill's Humanities Matter blog.
Author: Ingrid Falque
This is the first exhaustive catalogue of paintings with devotional portraits produced in the Low Countries between c. 1400 and 1550. This catalogue is an appendix to the book Devotional Portraiture and Spiritual Experience in Early Netherlandish Painting. The catalogue can be accessed and downloaded for free as well as be purchased in hardback.
Volume Editors: Mia Arp Fallov and Cory Blad
This book seeks to explore welfare responses by questioning and going beyond the assumptions found in Esping-Andersen’s (1990) broad typologies of welfare capitalism. Specifically, the project seeks to reflect how the state engages, and creates general institutionalized responses to, market mechanisms and how such responses have created path dependencies in how states approach problems of inequality. Moreover, if the neoliberal era is defined as the dissemination and extension of market values to all forms of state institutions and social action, the need arises to critically investigate not only the embeddedness of such values and modes of thought in different contexts and institutional forms, but responses and modes of resistance arising from practice that might point to new forms of resilience.
Volume Editors: Yoram Meital and Paula Rayman
In these times of growing insecurity, widening inequities and deepening crisis for civilized governance, Recognition as Key for Reconciliation offers meaningful and provocative thoughts on how to advance towards a more just and peaceful future. From the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict we learn of “thin” and “thick” recipes for solutions. Beyond the Middle East region we learn from studies around the globe: South Africa, Northern Ireland and Armenia show the challenges to genuine recognition of our very human connection to each other, and that this recognition is essential for any sustainable positive security for all of us.

Contributors are Deina Abdelkader, Gregory Aftandilian, Dale Eickelman, Amal Jamal, Maya Kahanoff, Herbert Kelman, Yoram Meital, Victoria Montgomery, Paula M. Rayman, Albie Sachs and Nira Yuval-Davis.
Writing Illness, the Mind and the Body in Modern China
The meanings of disease have undergone such drastic changes with the introduction of modern Western medicine into China during the last two hundred years that new discourses have been invented to theorize illness, redefine health, and reconstruct classes and genders. As a consequence, medical literature is rewritten with histories of hygiene, studies of psychopathology, and stories of cancer, disabilities and pandemics. This edited volume includes studies of discourses about both bodily and psychiatric illness in modern China, bringing together ground-breaking scholarships that reconfigure the fields of history, literature, film, psychology, anthropology, and gender studies by tracing the pathological path of the “Sick Man of East Asia” through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries into the new millennium.
Deutschland 1914 - 1924
Wolfgang U. Eckart, ausgewiesener Medizinhistoriker und fesselnd schreibender Chronist, legt mit seinem neuesten Werk eine faszinierende Kultur- und Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Medizin im Ersten Weltkrieg vor.
Der Leser erfährt in Text und Bild, wie die Medizin als wissenschaftliche Disziplin und praktische Profession während des Krieges an der Front und in der Heimat, in Laboren und Lazaretten agierte. Das Buch schöpft aus einem reichen Fundus gedruckter und ungedruckter Quellen, die hier vielfach erstmals der Öffentlichkeit präsentiert werden. Bei weitem nicht nur der Einsatz der Sanitätsdienste unter den Bedingungen von Materialschlachten und Gaskrieg sind das Thema, sondern auch die wachsenden Probleme der Ernährungsversorgung an der Front und daheim. Hunger und Hungerrevolten motivierten Ärzte zur Entwicklung heute oftmals befremdlich erscheinender Ersatznahrung. Alkoholismus und Drogengebrauch an der Front sowie die als »spanische Influenza« zu trauriger Berühmtheit gelangte Grippewelle des Spätsommers 1918 waren weitere Phänomene, mit denen sich die Ärzteschaft konfrontiert sah. Darüber hinaus be-handeln die letzten Kapitel die unmittelbaren Folgen des Krieges in den 1920er Jahren: einerseits die Krüppel-, Versehrten- und Rententhematik und andererseits die ideologische und politische Aufarbeitung des Krieges durch die Ärztezunft.
On the Controversy over the Microbiological Identity of Plague Epidemics of the Past
Author: Ole Benedictow
In recent decades, alternatives to the established bubonic-plague theory have been presented as to the microbiologcal identity and mechanism(s) of spread of historical plague epidemics. In this monograph, the six important alternative theories are intensively discussed in the light of the historical sources, the central primary studies and standard works on bubonic plague and the alternative microbiological agents, insofar as they are testable. These seven theories are incompatible and at least six of them must be untenable. In the author’s opinion, the arguments against the bubonic-plague theory and for all alternative theories are untenable. This monograph therefore also has been written also as a standard work on bubonic plague, giving a broad and in-depth presentation of the medical, epidemiological and historical evidence and the methodological tenets for identification of historical diseases by comparison with modern medical knowledge.
Bologna during the Black Death
Bologna is well known for its powerful university and notariate of the thirteenth century, but the fourteenth-century city is less studied. This work redresses the imbalance in scholarship by examining social and economic life at mid-fourteenth century, particularly during the epidemic of plague, the Black Death of 1348. Arguing against medieval chroniclers' accounts of massive social, political, and religious breakdown, this examination of the immediate experience of the epidemic, based on notarial records--including over a thousand testaments--demonstrates resilience during the crisis. The notarial record reveals the activities and decisions of large numbers of individuals and families in the city and provides a reconstruction of the behavior of clergy, medical practitioners, government and neighborhood officials, and notaries during the epidemic.
Historical Perspectives on Hospital and Asylum Visiting
Volume Editors: Graham Mooney and Jonathan Reinarz
Visiting relatives and friends in medical institutions is a common practice in all corners of the world. People probably go into hospitals as a visitor more frequently than they do as a patient. Permeable Walls is the first book devoted to the history of hospital and asylum visiting and deflects attention from medical history’s more traditionally studied constituencies, patients and doctors.
Covering the eighteenth to the late twentieth centuries, and taking case studies from around the globe, the authors demonstrate that hospitals and asylums could be remarkably permeable institutions. However, policies towards visitors have varied from outright exclusion, as in the case of some isolation hospitals in Victorian Britain, to near open access in the first Chinese missionary hospitals. Historical studies of visitors and visiting, as a result, tell us much about the changing relationship between healthcare institutions and the communities they serve. These histories are particularly relevant at a time when service providers seek ways to involve patients’ representatives in healthcare decision making; to control hospital super-bugs; and to make the hospital environment accessible yet safe and secure. With the re-emergence of restricted visiting, the subject remains one of the most emotive topics in the history of institutional medicine.
Adopting a wide-ranging definition of visitors, from official inquirers to family members, Permeable Walls provides an innovative perspective on hospitals and asylums historically and will interest historians of medicine, charity and governance, as well as healthcare policy-makers.
Rhetoric and Experimentation in Britain, 1918-48
Author: Martin Edwards
How do doctors decide whether their drugs, or other treatments, actually work? In practice this can be fiendishly difficult. Nowadays the gold standard is the randomised controlled trial (RCT). But the RCT is a recent invention, and the story of how it came to dominate therapeutic evaluation from the latter half of the twentieth century involves acrimony, confrontation, and manipulation of the powerful rhetoric of ‘control’.
Control and the Therapeutic Trial examines the development of the RCT from the eclectic collection of methodologies available to practitioners in the early-twentieth century. In particular, it explores the British Medical Research Council’s (MRC) exploitation of the term ‘controlled’ to help establish its own ‘controlled trials’ as the gold standard for therapeutic evaluation, and, ultimately, the MRC itself as the proper authority to adjudicate on therapeutic efficacy. This rhetorical power still clings, and is exploited today.
Control and the Therapeutic Trial will be of interest not only to historians of twentieth-century medicine and practising clinicians who take therapeutic decisions, but to anyone who seeks a broader insight into the forces that shaped, and control, the modern controlled trial.