Call for Applications: Training Program on “Medical Humanities in Asia: Medicine, Society and Culture”

Call For Applications

We are pleased to announce a call for applications for a June 2017 Training Program in Guangzhou:

Medical Humanities in Asia: Medicine, Society and Culture

June 21-27 2017, Sun Yat-sen University, China

Co-organized with:
Harvard-Yenching Institute
Health and Family Planning Commission of Shenzhen Municipality Medical Anthropology Program,
Departments of Anthropology and Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard University

Contact: Yinhua Zhou, Ph.D (Sun Yat-sen University),

Note: This is a one-time training program held in Guangzhou. Unlike some other HYI-sponsored training programs, participants will not have the opportunity to apply for a HYI fellowship for a one-year research stay during the next academic year.


Program Introduction

Over the last 20 years, the medical humanities has emerged as an interdisciplinary subject primarily in Europe and North America, but also in Japan, China and Thailand. This development has aimed at rebalancing medical teaching and practice with humanities and interpretive social science teaching and research with the idea of improving the training of health professionals; increasing collaboration between humanists, social scientists, and health professionals; and improving patient care. There is a crisis today in the patient-doctor relationship in China and the U.S., which reflects failures in the areas of ethical, communicative, and relational practices. This program responds to that crisis, which is now widening in Asian societies.

There are other reasons why the medical humanities has become an important framework for research and teaching around the world on biomedicine and bioscience. One of these is that social science studies of technology and bioscience have become a leading edge of social research in the area of health and medicine. These studies show that much of medicine and a great deal of healthcare is connected to bioscience assemblages that bring together politics, culture, and research with the commercialization of biotechnology and the development of biosecurity. Increasingly, social scientists and humanists are taking this critically-minded perspective on Chinese society and other Asian societies as well.

This training program intends to bring together the perspectives from the humanities and social sciences to explore medicine, its practice in society, and its embodiment in the lived experiences of individuals. The program will provide trainees an opportunity to study medical humanities from the broadest angle of social and cultural studies and emphasize the value of medical humanities in community care and clinical treatment, which has the potential to improve medical care, encourage greater ties between medical school and faculties of arts and humanities, and develop a new cross-disciplinary field for research and teaching.

Moreover, the trainees of this program are young faculty members who are conducting research and are dedicated to education in both medicine and arts science. We believe that they will play important future roles in medical humanities education and research in Asia. In view of this, the Harvard-Yenching Institute, the School of Sociology and Anthropology and Zhongshan School of Medicine at Sun Yat-sen University, and the Medical Anthropology Program, Harvard University have co-organized a training program for young faculty – ‘Medical Humanities in Asia: Medicine, Society and Culture’. The aims of the training program are 1) to promote culturally appropriate research and education in medical humanities across Asia by collaborating with well-established medical humanities programs in the west; 2) to construct an interdisciplinary model of training medical professionals and young faculty members in medical humanities and social sciences in Asia.

The program will invite scholars from Harvard University, UCLA, Otago University, Peking University, Tsinghua University and Sun Yat-sen University. The structure of training is flexible, which includes: lectures and seminars, group discussion, community/hospital based on-site teaching and one to one supervision. The training courses are in advanced theories and research methodologies in the field of medical anthropology, medical sociology, Science, Technology & Society (STS), literature for medicine and social medicine for global health. Through an open competitive admissions process, with a focus on the aforementioned research areas, we will carefully select no more than 20 young faculty and 40 other general participants from universities and research institutions throughout China (and other Asian countries and regions) to participate in the program. Each student’s research design will receive directed guidance from faculty instructors and will be put in interdisciplinary dialogue with work by their peers.

Additional information on instructors, application and admission [PDF]