Healing Arts RIG

The wide-ranging methods of “Alternative Medicines” are based on different philosophies about the relations between nature, the human body, and the spirit. By infiltrating our society these methods transgress national, geographic, and historical boundaries and have become a crucial part of our postmodern culture.

Healing individuals implies understanding their relation to the social. Effective medical practitioners recognize that notions of healing differ from culture to culture, that they intersect with ideas about difference and spirituality. In order to comprehend such notions, one needs to explore how different cultures transmit, alter, and question concepts of health and illness and how these concepts are gendered. This is the focus of our RIG. We are approaching our topic by addressing healing as a total art.

RIG Plans for 2012-13
  • Our RIG will sponsor a reading group each term, starting in late summer 2012. At a member’s request we will also sponsor a work-in-progress reading and commentary session. We would like to continue work on publishing electronically our interdisciplinary book, with the working title “The Healing Arts,” perhaps linked to our Web site. We will also continue making plans for an interdisciplinary course based on the RIG.
  • We plan to develop liaisons with faculty from OHSU and the UO and foment collaboration. Our ultimate goal is an OHSU/UO research center that will look at notions of healing that intersect humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences in an Oregon context. In order to establish a larger community of exchange we plan to sponsor an event in the White Stag building in Portland.
  • Our website functions as a bibliographical reference for us and supports our initiatives: research resource, lecture series designed to energize the philosophical, historical, biological and spiritual interdisciplinary theory and practice of the healing arts; and an anthology of essays based on the ideas and presentations discussed in the RIG, which has existed since 2002.

For research and event information go to our website at: http://pages.uoregon.edu/healarts/


Louise Bishop, Associate Professor of Literature, Clark Honors College
lmbishop(at)uoregon.edu; 541-346-0733

Steering Committee: Susan Anderson, Louise Bishop, Dorothee Ostmeier, Marjorie Woollacott