SELMA Medical Humanities Seminar

This seminar series organizes and supports innovative and interdisciplinary dialogues on the stories, memories, and experiences of health and illness. We are interested in the ways in which experiences of illness and disease shape and are shaped by the interrelations between cultures, persons, and environments. In particular, we seek to develop a critical understanding of how experiences of disease and illness blur boundaries between agential subjects, times and spaces, and prescriptive binaries between sickness and health, remission, and recovery. We encourage a critical and engaged approach towards phenomenological and narrative understandings of illness and disease, and we invite approaches that both defend and challenge the creative and epistemic possibilities of sickness. By enabling and encouraging such discussions in the medical humanities, we aim to enhance individual and collective understandings of health and illness and influence the practices and policies of caregiving both in Finland and across the world.

Bringing together colleagues from across Finland and the Nordic countries with international collaborators, this seminar series promotes an entangled approach towards experiential understanding of disease and illness from historical, literary, environmental, digital, and philosophical angles, among many others. Our current research interests include, but are not limited to, madness and mental health, cancer, trauma, ethics, terminal illness, ageing, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and death and dying.

For further information, please contact Dr Marta-Laura Cenedese ( and Dr Avril Tynan (

Series 1: Narratives of Illness (Spring Semester 2021)