Research Domain Humanities

Head: Prof. Dr. P. Hoff - Deputy: Dr. med. Anke Maatz MA

Mission Statement

Medical Humanities and Humanities in Psychiatry

Medical Humanities begin with bringing together the perspectives of the humanities and of medicine, i.e. with bringing together scholars of the humanities (as well as of the social sciences and of cultural studies), clinical practitioners as well as medical scientists to work on questions of shared interest. Especially in psychiatry, questions which are traditionally dealt with by the humanities, social sciences and cultural studies such as the old riddle of body and mind, the question of what it is to be human and the question of what constitutes normalcy permeate everyday clinical practice and are thus relevant with regards to diagnostic and therapeutic decisions. Focussing on the person who is understood as a complex mental and bodily being always situated in a bio-socio-cultural context, medical humanities aims to provide a holistic account of these complex issues at the interface of medical practice, the humanities and culture more broadly and can thus enrich clinical practice. But also, clinical practice and its realities can serve as a corrective for theories developed in the humanities.

Although there is a long tradition of collaboration between medicine and the humanities, not least as exemplified at this institution by persons like Eugen and Manfred Bleuler as well as Carl Gustav Jung, medical humanities as an academic discipline, whilst established in the United States since the 1960s and in the United Kingdom since a decade or so, are not yet well known in continental Europe. By taking up the challenge to establish a group of researchers working in this exciting transdisciplinary area, we thus hope not only to continue a longstanding tradition at this institution, but also to make an innovative contribution to psychiatric practice and research.