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Núria Pujol Furelos MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Early Modern History, History & Philosophy of Science and Technology

Cohort/Start PhD: 2021-2022

Sustainable Health: Historical models

University of Groningen
Promoto(es): Prof. Rina Knoeff, Dr Valentina Gallo, Dr James Kennaway
Appointment: Start in March 2022

This is an interdisciplinary project that bridges the study of Early modern history in the long eighteenth century with the concept of Sustainable health, which is currently being developed by academics. The rationale behind merging those two disciplines is that the basis of our currently medicalized society did start in the XIX century. Since then, how individuals feel about their own health has become less important. The point of departure is the Enlightenment, or eighteenth century, when there was a big revisitation of ancient medicine. This approach was much more centred in prevention rather than in therapeutics. In pre-modern times, health and well-being were categorized in six categories: air quality, feeding and water, rest and exercise, sleep and wakefulness, excretion and retention and passions and emotions. A living proof of this is the Hippocratic treatise Airs, Waters and Places written 2500 years ago. In our current pandemic times, lifestyle and environmental factors have re-emerged in the medical agenda. My project wants to learn lessons from the past which can be useful to solve problems from the present, without putting too much attention on personal or heroic stories. Thus, it vindicates the history from below, with the aim of shedding light in Enlightenment narratives and elaborating a sustainable health guideline which could be useful in policymaking. To do so, I am eager to explore health narratives during the Enlightenment in those areas that have been hegemonically less explored by historians such as Spain and Latin America. In this context decolonizing and gender narratives become extremely important.