For the first time in English, The Russian Medical Humanities: Past and Present argues that the medical humanities is a vibrant and emerging field in Post-Soviet Russia. In a unique collaboration that brings together diverse experts from both Russia and America, this volume showcases the Russian medical humanities as an interdisciplinary project that combines insights from philosophy, bioethics, anthropology, history, and literature in order to provide more compassionate medical care to patients in the twenty-first century. The chapters in this volume explore past and present humanistic trends in Russian medical training, as well as examine how Russian authors and cultural figures, some physician-writers, some without professional background in medicine of any kind, have positioned healthy and ailing bodies in their creative work. This volume’s contributors, who range from literary scholars, educators, translators and poets to medical historians, librarians, museum curators, and social workers, provide empathetic insight into the experience of medical encounters which all cultures grapple with. Their work will prove useful not only to current and future health practitioners, but also to a broader audience of readers who are seeking to make compassionate and informed decisions about healthcare for their loved ones and for themselves.
Konstantin Starikov is an independent scholar and librarian.
Melissa L. Miller is assistant teaching professor and director of undergraduate studies in Russian at the University of Notre Dame.
Konstantin Starikov and Melissa L. Miller
Chapter 1: Physicians’ Charity as a Lynchpin in Forming Medical Community
Evgeniya L. Panova and Maria S. Tutorskaya
Chapter 2: The History of the Formation and Maintenance of the Osteological Collections in Russia in the 19th- 21st Centuries
Maria P. Kuzybaeva
Chapter 3: The Doctor as a Humanist: An International, Interdisciplinary, and Intergenerational Project at Sechenov University
Jonathan McFarland and Irina Markovina
Chapter 4: Chekhov in North American Medical Schools: Surveying the pre-COVID Attitudes of Slavic Scholars and their Role in Medical Humanities
Chapter 5: Pauline Tarnowsky and the Russian Influence on Cesare Lombroso’s Criminal Woman
Frederick H. White
Chapter 6: Narrative Medicine in Chekhov and Bulgakov
Melissa L. Miller
Chapter 7: Social Cataclysm through the Doctor's Eyes: Vikentii Veresaev’s The Deadlock As Diagnostic Narrative
Chapter 8: Wards of the State: Russian Medical Fiction
Chapter 9: Still Alice, Always Elena: Dementia as A World of Possibility
The editors of this groundbreaking volume, practicing with the other authors of the book the broad array of methodologies and approaches of the medical humanities in the context of Russian literature and history. The profound interpretations of illness and medical care the volume’s many excellent chapters offer convince the reader that The Russian Medical Humanities takes a firm first step toward making the medical humanities a significant part of Russian and Slavic Studies.
In April 2016, in a lecture at I. M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, British surgeon Sir John Temple observed that "medicine is not country-specific, but global," thereby launching "The Doctor as a Humanist," the cross-border initiative reported in this volume (p. 33). The setting was indeed appropriate. In the mid-19th century, the great Russian physician Nikolai Pirogov envisioned a medical system that had broad social support. Authors contributing to this rich volume argue that the Russian medical profession and social landscape fuses the practical and humanist aspects of biomedicine in a manner that exemplifies the term medical humanities. References to Russian literature abound in this collection. Anton Chekhov provides the springboard to discussion in several excellent essays, including Melissa Miller's "Narrative Medicine in Chekhov and Bulgakov," Konstantin Starikov's “Chekhov in North American Medical Schools,” and Angela Brintlinger's "Wards of the State," an essay devoted entirely to Russian medical fiction. The Russian example is auspicious for the formation of a new academic discipline that is both humanist and medical. "The Doctor as a Humanist" has caught the attention of influential academic institutions and medical journals. With change agents enabled by artificial intelligence on the horizon, this collection offers a guide for administrators and teaching academics in biomedicine, public health, and related fields. Highly recommended. All readers.
The Russian Medical Humanities gives form and coherence to an emerging field of research while also opening up a tradition of vast resource for our understanding of medical practice. With this pioneering volume, Miller and Starikov call us to a conversation that will have resonance far beyond the field of Russian Studies.
The Russian Medical Humanities: Past, Present, and Future charts the emerging field of the Russian medical humanities through its exciting range of interdisciplinary perspectives on the interfacing of medicine and literature in Russia. While the study of the medical humanities has traditionally centered on America and Western Europe, this volume demonstrates conclusively that Russian culture offers a wealth of insight into the medicalized human condition that can greatly enrich the assumptions of Anglophone scholars. Miller and Starikov have complied an impressive roster of contributors that includes Russian medical educators and historians, scholars of Russian literature from both sides of the Atlantic, medical museum curators, a linguist, a librarian, and a hospice social worker in the U.S. Their chapters continually elucidate how the past can inform patient care in the present and in the future, in Russia and around the world, making this volume uniquely relevant for educators and practitioners, as well as scholars.
Russian Medical Humanities puts Russian culture on the map of the health humanities, a burgeoning field that is still prominently Anglophone. Contributions by historians, medical school educators, clinical practitioners, literary scholars, and museum curators, from both Russia and the United States, introduce to readers in the West a long and rich cultural tradition of approaching medicine through the lens of the humanities and set it in dialogue with well-established institutional practices in North America. A much-needed collection.