Center for Health Humanities

Constructing Moral Babies: Medical and Scientific Enterprises of Infancy in America, 1850s-1920

Thursday, March 23, 2023 | 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.| Zoom

Constructing Moral Babies is a bold, first study of when, how, and why babies came to be seen as moral beings and actors among the so-called experts of babyhood—physicians, scientists, and child rearing matrons. Tracing the history of the “moral” infant in American medical discourse reveals the moral dimensions of medicine and the interplay between science and religion in the construction of the human person.

This talk explores the philosophical and social constructions of the “moral” infant in American medical and scientific discourses from the 1850s to the 1920s. While historians have traditionally viewed the emergence of infant study and pediatrics from a physiological perspective, Dr Yang’s work uncovers complex debates within medical and scientific communities concerning the moral aspects of infants, particularly how infants’ moral agency could be understood and directed.

Presented by: Elisabeth Yang, PhD, Elisabeth Yang is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Kilachand Honors College of Boston University, and Visiting Researcher in Health Humanities at MCPHS.

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Annual Virtual Symposium

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Please join us for our Annual Virtual Symposium on Saturday April 22, 2023 to explore adherence and compliance from humanities and humanistic perspectives.

Autistic Intelligence, Social Interaction, and the Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Presented by: Doug Maynard, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
Thursday, January 26, 2023

This talk reported on recorded observations of the process of diagnosing autism and communicating diagnostic findings to family members. It explored how the diagnostic process can go beyond just sorting out who fits the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to discover and highlight the unique contributions autistic people make to the world around us.

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The Mask: How We Navigate Race, Health, and Safety by Concealing and Revealing our Identities

Presented by: Sharrona Pearl, Associate Professor of Medical Ethics and History at Drexel University, and Visiting Researcher in Health Humanities at MCPHS.
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Using a broad historical lens, Dr. Pearl explored the history of masking asking various sites and domains of practice to show its consistent use as a means of protection and division. She discussed contemporary masking from the anti-mask laws of the nineteenth century through the pandemic, looking in particular at the tensions between exposure and concealment, both of which are perceived as mechanisms of safety. She concluded with a discussion of racism in masking practices, arguing that for Black men in the US, structural racism was behind attempts to criminalize their masking even when it was legally required due to public health ordinances.

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Labels for Developmental Disorders: Blessing or Curse?

Presented by: Sander Werkhoven, a member of the Ethics Institute and Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
September 29, 2022

In this talk, Dr. Werkhoven discussed the value of diagnostic labels in scientific, therapeutic, social and administrative contexts. Are they a blessing or a curse?

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Invisible Made Visible: Comics and Mental Illness

Presented by: Dr. Jessica Gross, an independent scholar and the inaugural Visiting Researcher at the MCPHS Center for Health Humanities. Until her resignation in June of 2022, she was Associate Professor of English at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis (UHSP).
October 20, 2022

In this talk, Dr. Gross discussed her forthcoming edited collection about comics and mental illness.

Logic-Based Therapy in Healthcare: Using Philosophy to Do and Feel Better

Presented by: Elliot D Cohen, Ph.D., Brown University, principal founder of philosophical counseling in the United States, Executive Director and co-founder of the National Philosophical Counseling Association (NPCA), and President of the Logic-Based Therapy and Consultation Institute.
October 6, 2022

In the past few years, healthcare professionals have confronted exceptionally stressful working conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have resigned their positions, and many others who remain now suffer from burnout or related syndromes that impede their ability to work in this ordinarily high-stress environment. In this presentation, Elliot D. Cohen, the creator of Logic-Based Therapy (LBT), a prominent form of philosophical counseling, showed how the six-step method of LBT can help you to identify and refute types of self-destructive emotional thinking that often underlie such impediments, and then to overcome them through application of virtue theory and philosophy.

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