Members of the Centre for Health Humanities published a wealth of journal articles, chapters and books in 2020; here are just some of the highlights.
The Science of Starving in Victorian Literature, Medicine and Political Economy by Andrew Mangham, is a reassessment of the languages and methodologies used, throughout the nineteenth century, for discussing extreme hunger in Britain. Providing new and historically-rich readings of the works of Charles Kingsley, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Charles Dickens, it offers an interdisciplinary study in which the epistemological and discursive links between medicine and literature are explored.
Roberta Gilchrist’s chapter Spirit, mind and body: the archaeology of monastic healing in Sacred Heritage: Monastic Archaeology, Identities, Beliefs (Gilchrist, 2020) uses archaeology and material culture to consider how monastic experience responded to illness, ageing and disability. The archaeology of monastic healing focuses on the full spectrum of healing technologies, from managing the body in order to prevent illness, through to the treatment of the sick and preparation of the corpse for burial. Professor Gilchrist wrote a related blog on What can archaeology tell us about medieval medical care?
In their chapter, Using a comparative corpus-assisted approach to study health and illness discourses across domains: the case of postnatal depression (PND) in lay, medical and media texts, (Demjén (eds.), 2020) Sylvia Jaworska and her co-author Karen Kinloch contribute to a better understanding of the lived experience of PND through a comparative analysis of discourses about the condition produced by mothers in an online discussion forum, the medical profession and the UK print media.
Parastou Donyai published two papers on understanding medication practices in people recovering from breast cancer. The first study, Adherence to adjuvant endocrine therapy among breast cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of the qualitative literature using grounded theory, uncovered shared experiences and understandings by examining commonalities in existing publications. It also suggests an educational tool to inform survivors and health professionals about the challenges faced could potentially improve women’s experience on treatment and in turn their adherence.
In Determining how to complete a grounded theory meta-synthesis of research examining patient views on adjuvant hormonal therapy for breast cancer, Professor Donyai and her co-author Othman Alomeir share their reflections and suggest some practical steps from their project to bring together and analyse the existing qualitative research on women’s long-term management of their hormonal medication for preventing the recurrence of breast cancer.
In White ants, empire and entomo-politics in South Asia, Rohan Deb Roy shows how insects were ubiquitous and fundamental to the shaping of British colonial power and argues that co-constitutive encounters between the worlds of insects and politics have been an intrinsic feature of British colonialism and its legacies in South Asia.
Bioarchaeological evidence suggests stature increased in males but decreased in females after the Black Death (1348-1350 CE). Because tradeoffs between growth and reproduction can result in earlier ages at menarche and lower limb length, in Medieval menarche: changes in pubertal timing before and after the Black Death, Mary Lewis and her co-author Sharon Dewitte assess menarcheal age between 1120 and 1540 CE to better understand the health of medieval adolescent females before and after the plague. Pathways to skeletal development and reproductive investment are part of an integrated system, providing a bridge between life history research in bioarchaeology and human biology.
In ‘Your mind is part of your body’: negotiating the maternal body in online stories of postnatal depression on Mumsnet, Sylvia Jaworska and her co-author Karen Kinloch look at the intersection between motherhood and online illness narratives, examining the ways in which women conceptualise their maternal bodies in the context of postnatal depression. Their study shows how the embodied lived experience continually interacts with states of mind when making sense of PND and in doing so, transgresses the boundaries set by the body/mind dualism, which prevails in modern medicine.
Consumer understanding and acceptance of health claims are influenced by a variety of factors and in their paper, Developing a digital toolkit to enhance the communication of health claims: the Health Claims Unpacked project, Sylvia Jaworska and her co-authors outline how data from a digital toolkit, developed to investigate consumers’ responses to health claims and aid their understanding thereof, will be used to provide information on the preferences of different demographic groups on the wording of health claims and to provide recommendations for stakeholders aiming to enhance the communication of health claims on food and drink labels.
Full publications list
AlOmeir, O., Patel, N. and Donyai, P. (2020) Adherence to adjuvant endocrine therapy among breast cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of the qualitative literature using grounded theory. Supportive Care in Cancer, 28. pp. 5075-5084. ISSN 0941-4355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05585-9
Deb Roy, R. (2020) White ants, empire and entomo-politics in South Asia. The Historical Journal, 63 (2). pp. 411-436. ISSN 1469-5103 doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X19000281
DeWitte, S. N. and Lewis, M. (2020) Medieval menarche: changes in pubertal timing in the aftermath of the Black Death. American Journal of Human Biology. e23439. ISSN 1520-6300 doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23439
Donyai, P. and Alomeir, O. (2020) Determining how to complete a grounded theory meta-synthesis of research examining patient views on adjuvant hormonal therapy for breast cancer. SAGE Research Methods. SAGE Publishing. doi: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781529743418
Gilchrist, R. (2020) Spirit, mind and body: the archaeology of monastic healing. In: Gilchrist, R. Sacred Heritage: Monastic Archaeology, Identities, Beliefs. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 71-109. ISBN 9781108678087 doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108678087.004
Kinloch, K. and Jaworska, S. (2020) Using a comparative corpus-assisted approach to study health and illness discourses across domains: the case of postnatal depression (PND) in lay, medical and media texts. In: Demjen, Z. (ed.) Applying linguistics in Illness and Healthcare Contexts. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781350057661
Kinloch, K. and Jaworska, S. (2021) ‘Your mind is part of your body’: negotiating the maternal body in online stories of postnatal depression on Mumsnet. Discourse, Context and Media, 39. 100456. ISSN 2211-6958 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2020.100456
Lockyer, S., Ryder, C., Jaworska, S. Benelam, B. and Jones, R. (2020) Developing a digital toolkit to enhance the communication of health claims: the Health Claims Unpacked project. Nutrition Bulletin, 45 (4). pp. 432-443. ISSN 1471-9827 doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/nbu.12469
Mangham, A. (2020) The Science of Starving in Victorian Literature, Medicine and Political Economy. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 9780198850038