McGovern Lecture: The Role of Emotion in Disease

The role of emotion in disease: historial perspectives

Mark Jackson

Professor Mark Jackson
Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter
Senior Academic Advisor, Wellcome Trust

Thursday 29 October 6-7:15pm
E.P. Abraham Lecture Theatre
Green Templeton College, Woodstock Road

Emotions (or the ‘passions’) have for many centuries been implicated in the aetiology of both mental and physical diseases. Although the place of emotions in disease was largely displaced during the nineteeth century by more specific bacteriological and pathological accounts of illness, interest in the emotions and human health persisted.

This lecture will reflect on modern understandings of the role of emotions by focusing on three interrelated areas of medicine: early twentieth-century laboratory and clinical studies of shock and disease; mid-twentieth century accounts of the impact of emotional stress on health; and late twentieth-century formulations of midlife as a period of potential emotional, psychological and spiritual crisis.

Having trained first in science and medicine, Mark Jackson completed a doctorate in the history of legal medicine and has taught the history of medicine and the history and philosophy of science for nearly twenty years. His books include Allergy: The History of a Modern Malady (2006), Asthma: The Biography (2009), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine (ed., 2011), The Age of Stress: Science and the Search for Stability (2013), and The History of Medicine: A Beginner’s Guide (2014 – shortlisted for the Dingle Prize). He is currently editing The Routledge History of Disease and writing a book on the midlife crisis.

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