Cultures of Medicine
"Cultures of Medicine. Encounters, contentions and the shaping of new medical knowledge" (CultMed) addresses issues pertaining to varieties of medical knowledge and practices in cultural contact zones, how they are shaped, articulated and transmitted.
About the group
The significance and worth of medical knowledge and various medical traditions are recurrent themes of heated cultural, political and social debates in a number of countries worldwide and the burning topicality of this issue has been in the forefront of many media channels. This Project addresses issues pertaining to varieties of medical knowledge and practices in cultural contact zones, how they are shaped, articulated and transmitted. The object of inquiry is cross-cultural and multi-sited. It is located in the intermediary spaces of exchange between different knowledge traditions and cultural flows.
The aim of CultMed is to study the ways bodies of medical knowledge are ordered into knowledge systems that develop into knowledge regimes often resulting in the establishment of knowledge institutions.
As a multidisciplinary and multi-sited academic endeavour the project seeks to explore ideas, practices, places and objects tied to health, healing and care in different historical and geographical contexts. CultMed will study the dialectics between conventional biomedicine, traditional medicine (TM) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and examine the relationship between so-called innovative medicine developed in established institutions and the traditional knowledge from which it grows.
It will investigate the shaping and dissemination of different corpora of medical knowledge, various processes related to the transformation of medical knowledge and the interaction between different cultures of medicine. How they inform each other and bring about new knowledge and methods. This knowledge is communicated, developed, circulated and transformed in various ways whether orally and practice, through texts and material culture, or, more often, by combining a variety of approaches.
CultMed posits that encounters between different medical systems and traditions bring about novel perceptions of humans, human dignity and healthcare. Thus, the project takes part in an important international research field, where the comparative approach is necessary and desirable.
CultMed consists of 6 projects, each of which deals with the Cultures of Medicine in ways that reflect the disciplines from which they emanate: cultural history, history of religion, museum and heritage studies:
- Materia Medica – Medicinal culinary plants and the regulation of knowledge in the Mediterranean. (Professor Saphinaz-Amal Naguib, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, Cultural History, University of Oslo)
- Aṣṭāṅgahṛdaya of Vāgbhaṭa and the significance of Indian canonical medical texts (Professor Jens Braarvig, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, History of Religion, University of Oslo)
- From superstition to folk medicine. Collections of medical knowledge in twentieth century Norway (Associate Professor Line Esborg, Cultural History, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo)
- The healing powers of water (Associate Professor Ragnhild Johnsrud Zorgati, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, History of Religion, University of Oslo)
- Minding Culture, Regaining Wholeness – a Comparative Study of the Institutionalization of Alternative Practices of Mind-body Medicine in Norway (ca. 1960 – 2013) (Post doc. John Ødemark, Cultural History, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo)
- The negotiation, shaping, and practice of medical knowledge in eighteenth century Norway (Associate Professor Ane Ohrvik, Telemark University College.