Doctors in Space: Popular images of medicine and technology – Dr Lesley Henderson & Dr Simon Carter

Tuesday 22 August 2017, 7:50 pm - 8:50 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG

Dr Lesley Henderson & Dr Simon Carter – Doctors in Space: Popular images of medicine and technology

Doctors have always featured prominently in science fiction. The President of the American Medical Association, Dr Robert Wah, named Star Trek’s iconic physician Leonard “Bones” McCoy as his favourite fictional character because he represents the perfect combination of scientific knowledge and human compassion. But what else can we learn from the various doctors of Star Trek and other popular science fiction programmes? We suggest that doctors in space embody societal anxieties about the future of medicine, health technologies, and healthcare. We will be illustrating our talk with examples of doctors in different sci-fi shows to explore how these characters emerged at specific points of crisis for the medical profession. We will also look at the role that popular media plays in establishing or challenging medical power.

Lesley Henderson is Senior Lecturer in Sociology & Communications and member of the Institute for Environment, Health and Societies at Brunel University London. She is also Visiting Lecturer in the Faculty of Public Health & Policy at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Lesley has published widely on media, public health and science communication. Her main research interest is in popular media, public understandings and social change. Currently she is leading a team involving environmental scientists, computing scientists, eco-toxicologists and natural history (former BBC Blue Planet) film makers to explore plastic pollution. She is a scientific adviser for the adventure documentary film “”A Plastic Ocean”” (2017).

Simon Carter is Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of Sociology at the Open University. He has a particular interest in Science and Technology Studies especially as applied to issues of health and medicine. He has published widely on science, health and ‘the body’. His latest co-authored book “”Pathological Lives: Disease, Space and Biopolitics”” (Royal Geographical Society) discusses findings from an ESRC funded study of biosecurity and health.

Simon and Lesley are editors of the academic blog CostofLiving, an interdisciplinary discussion of health in times of austerity (funded by the British Sociological Association).

Twitter – @lesleyhenders and  @Cost_ofliving

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