Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University

Medical Humanities

Research node

The node and the research theme

In the Nordic countries, medical humanities have become a key concept in various humanistic fields focusing on medicine in a broad perspective. Of particular interest is the Nordic countries’ unique relation to the Nordic welfare model and its historical impact on health care and people’s everyday experiences of living with illness.

Researchers at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences that are engaged in research and teaching within this field meet in the Medical Humanities research node. We are interested in and conduct research that adopt cultural perspectives on a wide range of issues including public health care, design of public health policy objectives, biomedical research practices as well as how these activities are understood. We explore people’s experiences of living with disease, treatments and non- institutional as well as institutional care, and ethical issues that emerge within public health care and bio-medical research. Our studies and programs are often multi-disciplinary and are conducted with both contemporary and historical perspectives.


Rachel Irwin
Kristofer Hansson
Anna Tunlid

Open Seminar

Bodies, Buildings and Breath: Pre-antibiotic, Antibiotic and Post-antibiotic Architectures

Wednesday, 24th October – LUX:C327: 13.15-15.00
Professor Nik Brown, Department of Sociology, University of York

This paper reflects on the role of buildings and architectural designs in constituting particular kinds of ecological life and liveliness. These entanglements enmesh both humans and microbes in contrasting forms of ecology with significant implications for infection and infectivity. We delve into some of the historical aspects in which antibiotics make possible particular kinds of built environments, environments that are increasingly being called into question though notions like ‘post-antibiotic’ design. We want to move away from thinking about buildings as ‘environments’ (the ‘built environment’) and instead endeavour to understand the co-evolutionary relationships taking shape between the architectures of the body and the building. We’re interested in drawing insights from anthropology in understanding buildings as bodies, and bodies as buildings. We also locate our approach in biopolitical writing on immunity (Sloterdijk, Esposito, Derrida). Empirically, our work is concerned with the context of healthcare architectural designs that seek to control, minimise and mitigate communicable infections. These are dynamic contexts in which biotic forms of life are seen to co-evolve at the thresholds between the ‘body of the building’ and the ‘building of the body’.