Clearing 2021
Research Area

Health and Medical Humanities

Understanding health, medicine and well-being

Health and Medical humanities is an emerging interdisciplinary field that incorporates the arts and humanities and the social sciences, and their application to understandings of medicine, health and well-being.

The distinctive strengths of health and medical humanities at Essex are an emphasis on the politicised dimensions of power and agency in everyday life, especially the differentiation of experiences according to gender, ‘race’, sexuality and age, and belief in the importance of applied practice to change individual experiences and social awareness of health and illness.

Our work in health and medical humanities clusters around three main themes: autonomy and rights; representation and experience; and embodiment and emotion. These core themes are pursued across disciplines including art history and history; drama, theatre and film studies; law and human rights; literature and creative writing; and philosophy.

Autonomy and rights

Scholars interested in autonomy and rights make creative interventions to increase well-being in, and amplify the voices of, socially and politically marginalised groups; seek to clarify concepts such as ‘decision-making capacity’, ‘will’, ‘ableness’ and ‘empowerment’ with a view to improving healthcare policy and practice; and aim to understand the relationship between health and human rights in global context in order to foster new approaches to accountability at state level.

Representation and experience

Those exploring representation and experience want to understand how texts, images and objects have shaped self-perception and social attitudes in societies past and present; to consider the different contexts and means of articulating knowledge about health and illness, with particular emphasis on whose experiences are privileged in public discourse, and why; and to create methods for narrativising experience that can bring the human into medical discourse in new and unexpected ways.

Embodiment and emotion

Those concerned with embodiment and emotion examine the effects of medical abuse and violence in diverse contexts, including courtrooms, birthing spaces and battlefields; seek to illuminate patient, practitioner and carer experiences such as powerlessness and anxiety in order to help people identify, understand and better cope with what is happening to them; and open out new techniques and spaces for empathy, healing and change.

Our members

Academic staff members working in health and medical humanities come from a range of disciplines. 

School of Law

Dr Karen Brennan

Senior Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Gender; assisted dying; obstetric violence; infanticide; maternal obligation.

 Judith Bueno De Mesquita

Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Sexual and reproductive health; health and rights.

Dr Jaime Lindsey

Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Mental capacity, vulnerability, autonomy, disability.

Dr Koldo Casla

Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Economic and social rights; social determinants of health; health inequalities; campaigning and activism; migration

Dr Emily Jones

Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Gender; human enhancement; property and the body; posthuman theory; law and STS

Dr Nikhil Gokani

Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Public health law; non-communicable diseases; food; alcohol; tobacco

Dr Dimitris Akrivos

Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Crime, media and criminal justice; media ethics and regulation; victimology; mental health and the criminal justice system

Dr Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Criminal procedure/human rights; data protection; cybercrime and cybersecurity

 Julie Hannah

Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

The intersections between medicalisation, criminalisation and human rights; international drug control policy; mental health

Dr Emmanuelle Lemaire

Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Comparative Law, Tort Law, French Law, English Law

Dr Yseult Marique

Senior Lecturer

School of Law, University of Essex

Regulation and administrative law; public contracts; European administrative law

Professor Onyeka Osuji

Professor

School of Law, University of Essex

Corporate governance; corporate social responsibility; consumer protection; corporate regulation

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies

Professor Katharine Cockin

Professor

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Female doctors; medical women; gender and medical education; political activism.

Dr Liam Jarvis

Senior Lecturer

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Experimental neuroscience; embodiment; affect.

Professor Susan Oliver

Deputy Dean (Research) (Humanities) and Professor

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Literature of the late 18th century and Romantic period, transatlantic studies, Scottish literature, ecocriticism and environmental writing and periodical culture.

Dr Sean Seeger

Lecturer

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Twentieth-century literature; modernism; speculative/science fiction; utopian studies

 Nic Blower

Lecturer

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Fiction and documentary filmmaking

Professor Sanja Bahun

Professor (Dean of Postgraduate Research and Education and Professor)

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Comparative literature; psychoanalysis; womens and gender studies; the arts and transitional justice

Dr Christopher Bundock

Lecturer

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Sense and morbid sensibility in 18th-century and romantic literature

 Annecy Lax

Senior Lecturer (Deputy Dean Postgraduate Research Training)

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Women making theatre for social change; protesting through performance; British theatre and human rights discourse

Dr Mary Mazzilli

Senior Lecturer

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Chinese and East Asian theatre; world and global theatres and literatures; post-war British theatres in Europe

Dr James Canton

Senior Lecturer

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Creative non-fiction; ecocriticism; travel writing and theory; the interface between colonial history and postcolonialism

School of Philosophy and Art History

Dr Daniel Watts

Senior Lecturer

School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Disease, narrativisation, clinicalisation, therapeutic, care.

Professor Wayne Martin

Professor

School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Philosophy of psychiatry; phenomenology; autonomy and the regulation of care.

Dr Diana Bullen Presciutti

Senior Lecturer

School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Medieval and early modern medical culture; representing illness and infirmity; miraculous cures; saints and disease; history of hospitals

Professor Beatrice Han-Pile

Professor

School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Medio-passivity; powerlessness; Foucault; phenomenology.

Dr Natasha Ruiz-Gomez

Senior Lecturer

School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Charcot, Salpêtrière, Paul Richer, pathology, scientific artworks, hysteria.

Dr Matthew Burch

Lecturer

School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Phenomenology; action theory; cognitive and social sciences

Professor Fabian Freyenhagen

Professor

School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Theory, history and practice of autonomy; ethics; political philosophy

Dr Joerg Schaub

Senior Lecturer

School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Social and political philosophy; Frankfurt School and contemporary critical theory; aesthetic and politics

Professor Irene McMullin

Professor

School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Existentialism; phenomenology; ethics; moral psychology; social/political; aesthetics