Oncomotions: New Perspectives on 20th Century Cancer History
Cancer had a devastating impact on the lives of many people in the 20th century, and it is thus no wonder that it is closely linked to a wealth of different emotions. But to what extent did the experience of cancer actually shape emotional practices like fear, hope, grief, and disgust and impact people’s attitudes towards their own body, psyche, existence, suffering, and death? This project traces shifts in emotional cultures and practices around cancer and analyzes their relation to research practices, health politics, doctor-patient relations, and the use of therapeutic devices and techniques.
In placing the role of emotions center stage, this project brings together different aspects of cancer history that are usually treated separately, such as the scientific history of medical research, the production and transmission of knowledge in laboratories and hospital wards, the cultural and political history of early detection campaigns, and the everyday history of the social and individual experience of living with cancer. In doing so, this project highlights the hidden links that tied together these different aspects of cancer’s history and details how, when and in which “guise” emotions were at work here.
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