John Mulligan's blog
The Medical Humanities program at Rice is invested in bringing humanistic research on health to publics in and outside the medical field. Medicine, and our broader conceptions of health, are important domains of inquiry and discussion for both healthcare professionals, patients, and people who aren't currently patients (but all of us likely will be some day).
On April 8, 2017, Critical Care: Disability Interventions in the Logics of Cure brought together Medical Humanities students and faculty at Rice, with community organizations, and attendees from UT Health, Texas Women's University, and other Houston institutions to rethink the nature of cure, care, and diagnosis in varying contexts of illness and disability.
The 2017 International Health Humanities Consortium conference was held in the Texas Medical Center, where scholars from around the world came to share their research under the theme "Diversity, Cultures, and Health Humanities."
The HRC's practica program enables Rice undergraduates to conduct humanities research in local cultural and medical institutions, and to couple this research with hands-on work that materially benefits the sponsoring institution. In our pilot semester, Spring 2016, two students worked at the Woodson Research Center, at Rice's Fondren Library, to explore projects in cultural heritage and the medical humanities.
As part of our Mellon-funded Public Humanities initiative at Rice, the HRC promotes alt-ac programming and development for advanced graduate students. The HRC competitively funds two sixth-year Ph. D. students annually, (applications due soon!) to work with local institutions as they complete their degree. This helps graduate students make professional connections in the area while developing their scholarship in a publicly-oriented direction.
The HRC's practica program just completed its second semester, with students working at the Institute for Spirituality and Health, the Texas Medical Center Library's McGovern Historical Research Center, Archway Gallery, and the Menil Collection. This semester was particularly exciting because our two cultural heritage practica students created experimental installation pieces for their final projects, based on their semester's research (we will be writing in January about our medical humanities practica students, when some of their work is made public).
Marcia Brennan's Humanities of Care and End of Life (RELI/HURC 361) participates in Rice's new Medical Humanities minor. The course pairs the perspectives of medicine, bioethics, and the medical humanities with thematic case studies in art, literature, cinema, and visual culture. Dr. Brennan's students' final essays for the course have been published in an in-house collection.
Melissa Bailar, Associate Director of the HRC, presents a paper on Georges Perec's La Disparition (1969). Perec's lipogramatic novel, famously written without the use of the letter "e," provides the formal inspiration for Dr. Bailar's experimental paper, which constrains itself in the same way.