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This event – jointly organised by Durham University, the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, and the University of Edinburgh – offers an interdisciplinary platform for academics as well as the general public. It will be held as a two-day online conference (via “Zoom”).

By giving examples, ranging from antiquity to the present day, of how mental ailments have been experienced, theorised and treated, this event is aimed at exploring ancient and novel approaches to forms of mental illness both in antiquity and nowadays: this will include both strictly medical and pharmacological therapies, along with alternative remedies, such as philosophy and the therapeutical use of speech.

In particular, this conference will engage with people interested in how the experience of mental disease in ancient times shows breaks and at the same time continuity with the way we experience disease today. As such, this event will not only increase the attendees’ awareness regarding communication and disease in Graeco-Roman antiquity, but will also help them to reflect upon our current experience of communication and isolation due to the rise of COVID-19.

The dialogue with experts from neighbouring disciplines, students and the wider public will help to recontextualise the notion of disease, and diseased body, through human experience. By comparing different methodological and theoretical approaches, this interdisciplinary event will provide everyone involved with the tools for widening and diversifying our own research methods regarding the study of the body, the senses, medicine and community in our respective disciplines.

For more information please contact Thorsten Fögen (e-mail: for the full programme and the “Zoom” links.