NEW - Medical Humanities Minor

Medical Humanities encompasses disciplines within the arts, humanities, medicine and social sciences. Its goal is to give students and scholars an opportunity to explore a meaning-centered perspective on medical issues. The approach emphasizes the subjective experience of health and illness as captured through the expressive arts (for example, painting, music and literature), across historical periods and in different cultures, and with different ethical and political challenges. Medical Humanities draws attention not only to diagnosis, but to the meaning and experience of diagnosis, to the way that medicine is an art form as well as a science, to the way institutions and culture shape the way illness is identified, experienced and treated.


25 units: 4 in the core course, Introduction to the Medical Humanities; 1 for participation in the workshop for at least one quarter; 20 more in at least 4 courses from at least two disciplines connected to Medical Humanities (we will provide students with a list of possible courses, though will also be open to student additions to that list) including 2 more possible units for the final presentation preparation.

Open to Stanford University undergraduates.

Our core course: Introduction to the Medical Humanities (ANTHRO 120H/DLCL 120/French 120E/ ITALIAN 120) In 23-24, the course is offered Winter quarter 2024, L Wittman.

This class is a seminar to introduce students to the three key areas of Medical Humanities:

  1. Healing and the arts, which includes narrative medicine, often described as the use of art and literature to enhance our capacity to listen and to understand, and arts practices more generally. 
  2. The social context, which includes ethnographic and historical approaches to understanding disease and illness, cultural differences in the expression of illness, and the social role of practitioners.
  3. Justice and policy, which includes the ethical and political challenges around health, including racial diversity, economic inequality, migration, bioethics, and environmental justice.

The Medical Humanities Workshop (ANTHRO 443) meets several times each quarter to hear from a broad array of speakers, including activists, artists and scholars. In Autumn 2023 we meet Wednesday 5:30-7 over dinner on October 4, October 18, November 8 and December 13.

Contact: Laura Wittman  lwittman [at] (lwittman[at]stanford[dot]edu); Tanya Luhrmann luhrmann [at] (luhrmann[at]stanford[dot]edu) (co-directors) and Roya Aghavali mguillen [at] (royavali[at]stanford[dot]edu) (SSO)

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