The past twenty years have witnessed the rise of a heterogeneous interdisciplinary field: medical humanities. Bringing together amongst other areas philosophy, history of medicine, literature, arts, anthropology, law, disability studies, and sociology of health, the field of medical humanities purports to provide a critical outlook on medicine from both a historical and a contemporary viewpoint. Internationally, the development of medical humanities has proceeded in quite different ways. Some approaches, institutions, and methodologies have focused on innovative pedagogy within medical curricula whilst others have pioneered new forms of so-called “critical” medical humanities. The global pandemic we are experiencing has shown the importance of humanities broadly conceived to understand health and illness, the nature of ageing and death, as well as to place epidemics in historical perspective.
But what are the foundations of medical humanities? Where is the field heading and which directions are currently unexplored? What topics should scholars most urgently address? From which perspective? What can humanities and social sciences actually bring to medical studies and practice? How might medical humanities interface productively with other interdisciplinary fields such as environmental humanities and digital humanities? What might a “mature” field of medical humanities look like? And how should we theorise the relationship between humanities and medicine? Ranging across disciplines, places, and periods, “Between Art and Science” provides students and researchers with an opportunity to engage with cutting edge work at the interface of medicine, arts, and humanities in the present moment.