Art and Medicine at the Intersection of the Humanities

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University of Cyprus, July 2 – 6, 2012 The Ethical Challenge of Multidisciplinarity: Reconciling ‘The Three Narratives’—Art, Science, and Philosophy

Section I: History, Geography, Science

Workshop Title: Art and Medicine at the Intersection of the Humanities

Chair: Manfred Milz, Asst. Prof. of Art History, Design Theory, and Visual Culture, College of Fine Arts & Design, Randa M. Mostafa, Prof. of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, P.O. Box 27272, Sharjah University City, United Arab Emirates

Phone:+971 6 5057876, Cellular: +971 56 1070644


In recent years there has been growing interest in the relationship of Art and Medicine,  as seen, for example, in the medical humanities courses offered in medical schools and by the parallel, yet less marked scholarly attention given to the subject in Art History departments.

As a relatively new field of research, Art and Medicine is situated at the intersection of the humanities, the arts, and healthcare. Distinguishing itself from the more conventional study of the cultural history of medicine, it seeks to explore the role of medicine in the various arts—literature, painting, sculpture, film, performance, music etc.—and concomitantly—to study the role of art in the medical humanities.

The inter- or more correctly, multi-disciplinary, attempt to propose a unifying perspective for the two ‘faculties’—of art and medicine—is based on both historical and modern approaches to their shared theoretical and practical features—cognitive, physiological, psychological, and phenomenological. Beyond the aesthetic notion of art as the creation of beauty, its curative powers, ascribed to its cathartic functions, have been debated since antiquity. If art has direct and indirect healing powers, it cannot but be an integral part of medical training; and, by the same token, themes and concerns of medicine—both particular and general—should gain atten-tion in the study of art history.

The main goal of this workshop is to discuss the current research status of Art and Medicine and historical and contemporary approaches to their joint study.

I invite scholars working in these and related fields to consider presenting a paper on the various aspects—historical, ethical, theoretical, practical etc.—of the issues raised by Art and Medicine at the intersection of the humanities.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

– Renaissance Artists Researching Human Anatomy

– Physiognomy, Facial Expression and Personality Structure

– The Divided Self: Idealist Aesthetics / Origins of Psychoanalysis and Modernism

– Self-Images of Artists as Patients: Reflective Psychopathology or Psychosomatics

– Patients’/Artists’ Exterior and Interior Battlefields

– Melancholy – Creativity’s Source and Barrier

– Neuroaesthetics: Neurology and Artistic Creativity

– Artistic Activity and Clinical Care (Expressive Arts Therapies): Enhancement of Psychological and Physical Healing through Literature, Drama, Painting, Sculpture, Music, and Dance

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