Birkbeck Medical Humanities reading group: Medicine and care – cultures of harm, 16 March 2016

Medicine and care: cultures of harm.

The next session of the Birkbeck Medical Humanities reading group, relating to the theme of medicine and care, will be held on Wednesday 16 March, between 3.30-5pm in room 112, 43 Gordon Square<>.

The reading for this session has been selected by the organisers of the forthcoming conference Cultures of Harm in Institutions of Care: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, which will be held at Birkbeck on 15-16 April 2016.

The readings address undercover reporting to expose institutional abuse. One is by a young woman who got herself admitted to a New York asylum in 1877 to expose the cruelty that was taking place there; another has been written by Joe Plomin who was behind some of the recent Panorama programmes on institutional abuse.

Set texts for the reading group:

  • Nelly Bly, Ten Days in a Madhouse (1877). We suggest readers concentrate on the first seven or eight chapters, and the final one. Each is very short.
  • Joe Plomin, Hidden Cameras. Everything you need to know about covert recording, undercover cameras and secret filming (Jessica Kingsley, 2016), Introduction and Chapter 4
  • As an additional resource, you may also wish to read Jean Marie Lutes, ‘Into the Madhouse with Nellie Bly: Girl Stunt Reporting in Late Nineteenth-Century America’, American Quarterly, 54.2 (2002), 217-53.

Please contact Dr Heather Tilley if you need access to the readings.

More information on the reading group, including past events, is available on the website

A special workshop relating to this reading will be held in the afternoon of Saturday 16 April as part of the conference, contact Louise Hide,, for further information.