What is (health) humanities for?

Claire Hansen (James Cook University), Brid Phillips (University of Western Australia)


The health humanities has developed as an inclusive, interdisciplinary approach to the intersections and interactions between the humanities and health disciplines. In this 20-minute podcast, Dr Bríd Phillips (Lecturer in Health Humanities at University of Western Australia (UWA)) and Dr Claire Hansen (Lecturer in English and Writing at James Cook University (JCU)) will explore questions around the purpose of the humanities and literature, specifically as it pertains to human health and wellbeing. The podcast will introduce the health humanities and its relationship to English literature and emotions. An exploratory discussion will provide insights into the research projects in health humanities conducted at both UWA and JCU. We will discuss Dr Phillips’ involvement in the Humanities in Health and Medicine major and her work on narrative medicine with frontline health workers during Covid-19. The podcast will also explore Dr Hansen’s collaborative work connecting artificial heart devices (left ventricular assist devices or LVADs) with representations of the pulse in the works of William Shakespeare. Using these specific research projects, the podcast will raise broader questions about the role of the health humanities, the intersections between medicine and literature, and the function of literature in our society.

Presenter Biographies

Dr Claire Hansen is a Lecturer in English and Writing at James Cook University. She is also Co-Coordinator of the English Major. Claire is a member of the collaborative education project, Shakespeare Reloaded. Her first monograph, Shakespeare and Complexity Theory, was published by Routledge in 2017. She is currently working on a place-based Shakespeare education project. Her recent work on place, pedagogy and ecocriticism has been published in Text Journal and Critical Survey.

Dr Bríd Phillips is a Lecturer in Health Humanities at the University of Western Australia. She coordinates units in narrative medicine, health humanities, and health professions education. She has published widely on Shakespeare and emotions, and the place of literature in health humanities. She is currently working on a monograph on Shakespeare and the History of Emotions and health humanities projects.

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One reply on “What is (health) humanities for?”

It is very interesting how many different parts of who we are as humans and parts of literature and emotions are connected and intertwined.

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