Medical Humanities Sheffield is pleased to offer an exciting opportunity to apply for three PhD studentships in a linked network studying the impacts of disease on personal identity, and the roles of shame and stigma. Concepts of shame and stigma have shaped our responses to disease throughout history, whether the diseases themselves are associated with stigma (for example, leprosy), or the consequences of disease-related behaviours which cause shame (addiction). These personal responses have profound impact on the ability of subjects to access treatment and engage with therapies with confidence.

Many diseases with psychological components are associated with complex sensations of stigma and shame that are rarely vocalized, poorly understood, and which change over time and with culture and context. The meanings of diseases as constructed through the interaction of medicine, the law, and societal assumptions requires a new, multidisciplinary vision to identify, dissect and explore their historical, cultural, emotional and clinical perspectives. Medical Humanities Sheffield was created specifically to enable these translational networks, and we propose what we believe to be the first interdisciplinary network worldwide to use multiple diseases and interdisciplinary techniques to inform and understand this critical pathway.

The network will establish the contemporary intersections and tensions between medical knowledge and practice, popular conceptions and attitudes, and the emotional state of patients. It involves placing these current scenarios and situations in meaningful historical and cultural perspective and linking the studentships together in a network makes for an in-built comparative dimension to the project.


Medical and public understanding of alcohol and the liver in the twentieth century.

A randomised controlled trial to investigate if Focused Expressive Writing reduces symptoms in patients with epilepsy and Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder.

Understanding body shame, stigma, disgust, and depression: How can developing self-compassion help in living with a visible skin condition.