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Biomedicine in museums

Illness in context — textual interpretations of illness

On several occasions we have had the pleasure to organise events together with Scandinavian literary scholars Frederik Tygstrup (Copenhagen) and Knut Stene-Johansen (Oslo); for example, Frederik spoke at the opening of our temporary exhibition ‘The Face of Disease’ (Sygdommens Ansigt) in 2006, and Knut sat on the committee that evaluated Adam Bencard’s PhD-thesis in February 2008 (and I’ve been giving a seminar on ‘presence effects in contemporary biomedicine’ in Oslo).

Knut and Frederik organised a Nordic research network called Infectio, which has resulted in a couple of meetings and now also an anthology titled ‘Illness in Context’ on Rodopi, which focuses on the literary perspectives of medicine and illness:

The reading practices highlighting the clinical, phenomenological and archeological approaches to illness take as their point of departure the living text, that is, the literary experience mediated and created by the text. Literature is seen not solely as a medium for the representation of experiences of illness, but also as a historical praxis involved in the forging of our common understanding of illness. In contrast to traditional literary analysis – primarily oriented toward the interpretation of the literary work’s meaning – the project will emphasize description and understanding of how literature itself performs as a means of interpretation of reality.

More here.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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