Durham Centre for Medical Humanities / Wolfson Post-Graduate & Early Career Research Network
Thursday 15 May 2014, 2 pm – 3:30 pm

Collier Room, Hild and Bede College, Durham University

It might be said that the absent has never been so present.  From interest in the methodological challenges of ‘missing data’ to that growing body of literature that speaks directly to states of human absence (emptiness, sleep, absent-mindedness, lost memories, missed opportunities), problematizing the binary between the present and the not-present and shifting attention from the present to the absent have become intriguing interests in recent health research.

This final medical humanities discussion session continues our themes of evidence and epistemology to ask: how do we respond to/make space for the ‘absent’ in our research, and to what extent must health research inevitably address substantially with themes of absence in its inquiries?  As ever we are looking for two or three brief opening presentations (5-8 minutes) which speak to these themes.  Please email Jenny ASAP to volunteer. 

Starting ideas might include, but are not limited to –

  • The political, epistemic or ethical consequences of absence in research
  • Conceptualising health and illness (as each the absence of the other?)
  • Lived lacunas and manifest absences (absent memories, body parts, relationship, futures)
  • On presenting absence (e.g. in poetry, literature, statistics, film…)
  • Illness as absence (the things you missed while you were sick… )

For the purposes of cake and tea, we would be grateful if you would confirm your presence (or absence!) no later than May 12.  Hope to see many of you there – new members always welcome!

Dr Jenny Laws
Network convenor



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