CfA: The Medicalised Body, Edinburgh, Hybrid, May 11th & 12th 2023

The University of Edinburgh is the seat of many historical and contemporary breakthroughs in medicine and epidemiology. On top of this, the medical humanities are increasingly influential at the university, with high-quality research output from the Usher Institute, Edinburgh Futures Institute, and Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. Meaningful connections between these centres, however, are lacking, as too are links to other schools and departments. In the philosophy department, medicine is rarely discussed, despite expertise in several relevant areas (e.g., philosophy of cognitive science, phenomenology, epistemology). The intention behind this conference is to begin generating critical discussions about medicine within the department of philosophy at Edinburgh, with the additional goal of creating interdisciplinary links between departments inside and outside the school of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences as well as with our academic partners at other institutions. By bringing interdisciplinary researchers together at this event, we hope to initiate formal connections between the philosophy department and the medical humanities research already taking place at the university and at other institutions across the country. This conference further aims to demonstrate the valuable contributions philosophy and phenomenology can make to medicine. If successful, we might establish regular meetings of this kind for knowledge exchange.

The focus of the conference is a phenomenological approach to the body in medicine, and what this means for research and society at large. Phenomenology is already a strength of the department at Edinburgh, which hosts the Edinburgh Philosophy and Phenomenology group (EPiPHENy), and therefore the natural place to start these discussions. As such, I have invited experts in the field of phenomenology and medicine to share with us their expertise:


o    Dr Lucy Osler, University of Cardiff

o    Prof Havi Carel, University of Bristol

o    Prof Luna Dolezal, University of Exeter

o    Prof Yochai Ataria, Tel Hai College

Additionally, EPiPHENy is looking for 8 speakers, early-career researchers or individuals who work in medicine with a phenomenological approach, to give short 30-minute presentations followed by a 15-minute Q&A. Presentations should discuss phenomenology in relation to how the body is medicalised in various ways, such as in disability, illness, and mental disorder. This theme should be taken broadly and, in particular, we encourage talks which incorporate philosophy and phenomenology in interdisciplinary ways to further demonstrate the value of incorporating philosophy in other approaches to medicine and the body. These talks will highlight not only the current theoretical and methodological worries present in medicine from the perspective of the medical humanities but also exemplify the benefit a philosophical outlook can bring to the table for medicine and other disciplines.

Contributors are welcome to present either in person in Edinburgh or online, although we will be aiming for a balance of in-person and online talks when grading abstract submissions. All in-person speakers will also be invited to an evening meal on the second day, the expenses of which will be covered by the conference. Currently, reimbursement of short presentation speaker travel is dependent on funding.

To apply for one of the short presentations, please submit to by February 17th 2023 an anonymised 500-word abstract, with title and keywords, alongside a separate file that includes: 

  • Talk Title
  • Author name(s)
  • Affiliation(s)
  • Current occupation/position of all authors (PhD researcher, post-doc, nurse, clinician etc.)
  • A short bio
  • Preferences for online or in-person presentation.

We especially encourage submissions from marginalised and minority groups; if you identify as part of one of these groups, please do indicate this as part of your bio if you feel comfortable doing so. As much as possible, we will be following the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme for conferences and seminars.

This conference is funded by the Student Staff Initiative Fund from the University of Edinburgh.

Any enquiries should be directed to Jodie Russell.