Medical Humanities Discussion Group

Our Glasgow medical humanities discussion group meets regularly throughout the year. In the academic year 2016-2017, this group is organised and convened by Dr Cheryl McGeachan, a Lecturer in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences. The discussion group is a forum for work-in-progress presentations and friendly discussion. All are welcome! If you would like further information, or to propose a paper, please contact Cheryl.

The meetings will all take place between 1-2pm in Room 4181 in the East Quadrangle, in the Main Building at Glasgow University. Tea/coffee and biscuits will be provided.

Directions as follows:

Map 1

map 2

Please enter through the first turret:

Turret 1Turret 2

And walk upstairs (a lift is available if required to the right of this picture) – keep going to the very top of the second staircase and turn right then turn left (or follow the signs).


We are very pleased to announce the times and topics for this Semester’s presentations:                   


Wednesday 18th January

Session 1 – ‘Prostheses in Ancient Greece and Rome’

Speaker: Dr Jane Draycott (University of Glasgow)

This session will discuss Jane’s work to date about prosthesis manufacture and use in Classical Antiquity.


Wednesday 15th February

Session 2 – History in Action: Social Psychiatry in Contemporary, Political Perspective

Speaker: Dr Matthew Smith (University of Strathclyde)

In this ‘post-truth’ era, it is increasingly important for historians to be assertive about the insights their research can offer to contemporary debates and issues, but determining exactly what ‘lessons’ are relevant and developing the skills to articulate them to the wider world is not easy.  Using my current research on the history of social psychiatry as a case study, my paper will discuss my ongoing attempts to distil conclusions that matter from my research into the history of health and medicine and communicate them to the broader public.


Wednesday 22nd March

Session 3 – “I’ve just got to keep myself together …”: The psycho-social geographies of living and coping with Social Anxiety Disorder’” 

Speaker: Louise Boyle (University of Glasgow)

This talk examines the psycho-social dynamics of living and coping with Social Anxiety Disorder; a condition marked by an intense and persistent fear of social interactions, situations and anticipated others. Drawing on lived accounts of anxious experiences from online interviews, I uncover the ways in which various situations, spaces and temporalities may be or become beneficial or detrimental to experiences of illness, health and wellbeing. By paying attention to the relational and embodied practices of coping and self-care, and the inherent spatialities of such practices, I explore how social anxieties necessitate an on-going formation and maintenance of psychological, social and material boundaries. I examine how processes of self-care and mechanisms of coping enable individuals to (re)order and (re)gain control of their socio-spatial surroundings but also ask to what extent are people further isolated and/or restricted by their attempts to manage and control their anxious experiences.



Past presentations include:

Molly Ziegler (University of Glasgow), “Shakespeare and Madness: dramaturgies of mental illness in early modern England”

Staff from Archives and Special Collections (University of Glasgow), “Discovering Medical Humanities Collections”

Dr Ian Shaw (University of Glasgow), “The Psychopolitics of Surplus Populations”

Megan Donald (University of Glasgow), “From animal companionship to animal husbandry: exploring a more-than-human ethics for veterinary medical humanities”

Prof. Alexander Kosenina (Leibniz-University Hanover), “Bedlam and Beyond: Madhouse Tourism in the 18th Century”

Dr Anna Mcfarlane (University of Glasgow), “Inequality in Medical Science Fiction”

Arden Hegele (University of Columbia), “University of Pathography and Romanticism”

Dr Mia Spiro (University of Glasgow), “Between two Worlds: The Possessing Spirit of The Dybbuk in Interwar Jewish Theatre”

Dr Emma Laurie (University of Glasgow), “Health and Human Rights: Easier in theory than in practice”

Prof. Stephen Burn (University of Glasgow), “Contemporary American Fiction and Neuroscience”

Dr Jenny Eklof (Umeå universitet), “A New Panacea: The Emergence of Mindfulness Science”

Dr Donna McCormack (University of Leeds), “A Haunting Imaginary of Organ Transplantation”

Jac Saorsa (, “The Power of the Visual: The Artist in Medicine”

Dr Cheryl McGeachan (University of Glasgow), “A Tapestry of Tales: Investigating the Historical Geographies of Art Therapy and the ‘Art Extraordinary’ in Scotland (1950-1980)”

Dr Megan Coyer (University of Glasgow), “The Medical Blackwoodians: Literature and Medicine in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press”

Dr Claire McKechnie (Glasgow Centre for Population Health), “Narrative, Community Health, and Medical Humanities”

Dr Hannah Tweed (University of Glasgow), “Poor Things: Diagnosis and Paratext’

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