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Site, Sector, Scope: Mapping the Epistemological Landscape of Health Humanities


This essay presents a critical appraisal of the current state of baccalaureate Health Humanities, with a special focus on the contextual differences currently influencing the implementation of this field in Canada and, to a lesser extent, the United States and United Kingdom. I argue that the epistemological bedrock of Health Humanities goes beyond that generated by its written texts to include three external factors that are especially pertinent to undergraduate education: site (the setting of Health Humanities education), sector (the disciplinary eligibility for funding) and scope (the critical engagement with a program’s local context alongside an emergent “core” of Health Humanities knowledge, learning, and practice). Drawing largely from the Canadian context, I discuss how these differences can inform or obstruct this field’s development, and offer preliminary recommendations for encouraging the growth of baccalaureate Health Humanities—in Canada and elsewhere—in light of these factors.

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Correspondence to Andrea Charise.

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Charise, A. Site, Sector, Scope: Mapping the Epistemological Landscape of Health Humanities. J Med Humanit 38, 431–444 (2017).

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  • Health humanities
  • Medical humanities
  • Undergraduate
  • Baccalaureate
  • Epistemology
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Postsecondary education
  • Humanities
  • Pedagogy
  • Canada