Medical Humanities

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Medical humanities examines the relationship between health and society, situating medicine and disease within their political, social, historical, ethical, and cultural contexts.  It often uses ideas, tools and methods from disciplines such as history, art, philosophy, theology, and literature to create innovative strategies for understanding and improving health and healthcare. Decisions about whom to treat or when to treat them, how to prevent disease, and how to fund and develop health services cannot be made on the basis of science alone. They remain contentious ethical and political judgments, reflecting economic realities, contested histories, cultural norms, future aspirations, and socially-conditioned perceptions of risk. Medical humanities brings these judgments to light and enables us to examine them consciously.  Most fundamentally, medical humanities understands health and medicine as bound up with the human.

Please see the people involved and our upcoming events.

To be added to the medical humanities mailing list:

OxMedHum Call for Activities

Are you researching aspects of health and medicine, drawing on tools and methodologies from the humanities and social sciences?  Do you have an idea for an event on medicine and its relationship to society?  The Oxford Medical Humanities Programme supports research activities in the field of medical humanities, broadly defined.  We can provide support for University of Oxford-based projects and research activities through the use of TORCH venues, advertisement, IT support, funding (up to £300 per application), and/or advice to connect with other sources of University funding and Oxford-based researchers.  For 2023-2025, we particularly encourage research activities that link to our current themes of: global health, public health, and/or community health.  
We invite applications, submitted to, that outline:
-the event/project’s rationale (max 500 words)
-what support is requested (e.g. venue hire; networking with other Oxford researchers; financial support)
-a proposed budget (including pending applications to other sources of funding)
-details of applicants/those involved

Please note: the lead applicant must be based in the Humanities Division, and more than one University department must be involved.  We welcome applications from DPhil students, Early Career Researchers, research staff (whether college or department), as well as postholders.  Applications will be assessed termly from Friday week 2, with a summer pool assessed August 15.  You are welcome to discuss draft proposals in advance via

Humanities and Healthcare 

The Humanities and Healthcare team is funded by Wellcome Trust ISSF and the Higher Education Innovation Fund to strengthen collaboration, research and policy engagement around humanities and healthcare. It will provide an opportunity to explore the benefits, opportunities and barriers to collaboration with colleagues and to identify further support, training and information needs.

We look forward to welcoming colleagues and to building the humanities and healthcare community across the university.

For information about Humanities and Healthcare, please click here.

Humanities and Healthcare team:

Professor Joshua Hordern (Theology and Religion)
Dr Sally Frampton (Humanities and Healthcare Research Fellow)





Image credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY.

Past Events