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The University of Southampton
Southampton Centre for Medical and Health Humanities

Research projects

Ruth Bartlett (Health Sciences)

Using Global Positioning System (GPS) Technologies for Safer Walking: A participative inquiry project - Alzheimer’s Society Project Grant
The purpose of this two-phase qualitative study is to examine the usage and effectiveness of GPS technologies from the standpoint of people with dementia and the police through a process of participative inquiry. The main aim is to provide fresh evidence to inform decision making at all levels from families to organisations and policy makers.


Aude Campmas (FILM and MLL)

Women and the End of the World 

The second half of the 19th century saw the development of the recurring figure of monstrous and ‘exotic’ flowers.  What were the processes that led to the metamorphosis of the magnified flower-woman of Renaissance madrigals, which we still find in the first part of the 19th century, into a monstrous plant? In order to answer this question, this book undertakes the study of the metamorphosis of the woman-flower in parallel to the history of botany, horticulture and biology.  


Sofia Bull (Film) 

Dr Sofia Bull is a Lecturer in Film specialising in audio-visual cultures of science, medicine and the body, particularly on popular television. She has published extensively on forensic crime dramas and is the author of Television and the Genetic Imaginary (Palgrave, 2019). She continues to research how forensics, genetics and reproduction figures across a wide range of television programmes and genres.


Hormoz Ebrahimnejad (History)

Waqf (charitable endowments in Islam) and welfare or public health in the Islamic countries.
Hormoz is studying this question in the context of the rise of Islamism in modern period. The increasing number of waqf and provision of welfare by the Islamist parties through such institutions indicates a change in the structure of political power in Islamic countries, their legitimacy and as a result in the pattern of their succession (transition of power). This project also examines the impact of the waqf organisation in the development of healthcare system and hospitals.


Kathleen Kendall (Medicine)

The Rockwood Asylum
In broad terms, Kathleen’s research explores patient and provider experiences of treatment for mental health issues. Much of this work has focused on mental health and imprisonment, such as the operation of Mental Health In-Reach Teams inside British prisons; the gendered nature of prison mental health interventions; and severe self-harm in a forensic adolescent mental health unit

Kathleen is also interested in the history of psychiatry and she is completing a long-standing project on the first stand-alone asylum for ‘criminal lunatics’ in Canada - the Rockwood Asylum.


Elselijn Kingma and Fiona Woollard (Philosophy)

Philosophy of Pregnancy and Early Motherhood
Pregnancy and Early Motherhood pose many interesting, and largely overlooked, philosophical questions in metaphysics, ethics and epistemology. Southampton philosophers ElselijnKingma and Fiona Woollard are tackling some of these questions in a series of related sub-projects. For example:

Better Understanding the Metaphysics of Pregnancy (BUMP)
Pregnancy presents us with fascinating philosophical problems: what, during the pregnancy, is the nature of the relationship between the foetus and the maternal organism? What is the relationship between the pregnant organism and the later baby? And when does one person or organism become two? A 1.2 million Euro research grant from the ERC allows ElselijnKingma and her team to address these and other questions in a 5 year research project starting in spring 2016.

Mother Knows Best: Pregnancy, Applied Ethics and Epistemically Transformative Experiences
This project explores pregnancy as an epistemically transformative experience and the implications for philosophical debate on issues such as abortion. Is there crucial knowledge only accessible, or primarily accessible, to people who have been pregnant? How should philosophers respond to this? Fiona Woollard has been awarded a 5 month Non-Residential Research Fellowship in the Philosophy of Transformative Experience to address these questions, in association with The Templeton Foundation, the University of Notre Dame and The University of North Carolina.


Joanna Sofaer (Archaeology)

Places of Joy: Heritage After Lockdown
Joanna is interested in developing novel, evidence-based applications of archaeology that are grounded in research. She is PI of Places of Joy: Heritage After Lockdown, a collaboration between researchers at University of Southampton, University of Cambridge and University of Surrey, supported by Historic England and The Heritage Alliance. The project investigates whether and why heritage appears as a joyful space at a time of national crisis, and thus to understand the specific characteristics of heritage sites that contribute to wellbeing and resilience.


Scott Soo (MLL) and Aude Campmas (Film and MLL)

‘I am not a virus!’ Living with the effects and aftermath of virus-related discrimination in Great Britain and France.
Whether in English or French, the slogan ‘I am not a virus’ expresses the distress of British-Chinese and Franco-Chinese minorities subject to verbal and physical attacks since the onset of COVID-19. The words, also point towards their response in an anti-racism social media campaign. Drawing from the history of pandemics and immigration history, this study represents the first investigation into the social construction of Coronavirus-related discrimination against Chinese minorities in Great Britain and France.


Joan Tumblety (History)

Natural health cures

My current book project investigates natural health cures in France in the middle decades of the twentieth century. The early research has focused on the thermal spa experience, though I am interested in the dynamics at work in the field of natural health more generally. For example, I am investigating the role of physicians in shaping popular perceptions of health and beauty in the period, and in the emergence of self-help literature. One challenge I face is finding ways of accessing individual experience of health cures given the sparseness of the archival record in this respect. To that end, I am interested in exploring the postcards sent home by men and women taking the cure. Words scrawled to loved ones on the back of commercially or privately produced postcards often reveal something of the patient’s subjective relation to their own bodies.


Michael Williams (Film)

Health, beauty and the ‘ideal’
Michael’s research focuses on film stardom, representations of the past (particularly antiquity) and silent cinema. He has worked on the uses of classical myth and art in the construction of the star body and related discourses of health, beauty and the ‘ideal’, particularly in the 1920s and 30s. Through his research on the British star, Ivor Novello, he has also explored the cultural afterimage of the First World War in 1920s cinema and stardom, and for Novello in particular, given his enduring celebrity as the composer of the war anthem, ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’.


Sonia Zakrzewski (Archaeology)

Human diversity and variability
Sonia is a bioarchaeologist, focusing on human skeletons. Her interests are in biological anthropology, race, human diversity and variability, and the study of the human body to understand aspects of migration and mobility, diet, identity, disease, religious practice and social organisation in past populations. Her interests are therefore linked together by the human body and the funerary and mortuary archaeological record. Her interest in human diversity developed from interests in human mobility and dispersal: are migrants different from sedentes? How can we identify migrating individuals within the archaeological record? Are there aspects of the body that we can read? As a result, she has been developing studies of human identity. How is identity expressed upon the human body? How plastic and malleable is the body? Her research then links these aspects together with the funerary record to develop models of human ethnicity and identity.

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