I stopped doing a lot of work-related things on the 19th December and am only coming back to it now in anticipation of an exciting year ahead, so apologies for the ‘radio silence’ over the last three weeks. It’s been bliss.
I stepped down as Head of Department at the turn of the year and start a six month sabbatical today, so I’ll be doing a lot of blogging, reading and writing over that time (more about this in the next few days).
I did, however, keep reading some of my favourite news-sites and blogs while on holiday and came across a few gems that I thought I’d share with you. All of these are relevant to critical physiotherapy, although some are more abstract than others.
Last year, I wrote a little bit about the importance of uncertainty and what Kathryn Hughes wrote about in this short piece about the erotics of now knowing which is well worth reading. There is a growing philosophical interest in the idea that we should stop trying to define, resolve and conclude things – especially where we do this for other people in clinical care, for instance – so I think this will be something I write more about in the coming months.
This really lovely New York Times profile of writer Laura Hillenbrand explains her experience of living through chronic fatigue syndrome.
I read quite a lot by Leslie Jamison over the holiday. She is the author of a recent book titled ‘The Empathy Exams’ which has received a lot of critical attention in recent months. You can hear a short book review here to get a flavour (NPR called the book ‘A virtuosic manifesto of human pain’!). Part of the book details her work as a medical actor during various medical exams – something a lot of people in the profession seem to be interested in as a way to manage the problems of finding clinical placements. To get a feel for her beautiful writing, you might want to try this short story first.
I’m no fan of pop-psychology (you know the kind of thing: ’10 ways to find true love,’ ‘How eating food makes us fat’…etc.), but sometimes a gem pops up that can give you pause for thought. This piece in Vox caught my attention as something that might be useful for our group in the months and years to come.
Reese Witherspoon recently featured in a new film called Wild, about the real-life experiences of a woman called Cheryl Strayed who left behind a pretty miserable existence to walk across America and find herself. The book and the film definitely fall under the category of ‘Walking Is So Much More Than Just A Gait Pattern’ and links in with some of the books on the philosophy of walking I’d posted about last year (see here). Hence the title of this review: The Walking Cure.
There is an amazing body of philosophy to be found in education, but one of my favourite sites is the ever-reliable Hybrid Pedagogy, and in December they published a list of some of their best postings from 2014. This is well worth a read. There is a lot here we can learn from about translating critical physiotherapy into meaningful ideas for our colleagues.
Hybrid Pedagogy also provided a very insightful commentary on what critical pedagogy means. Over the last six months I’ve had a few people approach the Critical Physiotherapy Network because they think it’s about critical care in hospitals. Others have little exposure to critical thinking in the philosophical or sociological sense of the word and believe critical thinking is about one’s ability to critically read a research article. Hybrid Pedagogy struggled with the same issue and in this post came up with some very useful explanatory concepts that might provide some language for us to use as we define our purpose more clearly in the months to come.
I have a longstanding interest in the history of physical therapies, particularly in the nineteenth century before physiotherapy as a profession was born. So I really enjoyed this piece from Aeon Magazine.
Interestingly, this article was written by Iwan Rhys Morus, Professor of History at Aberystwyth University in Wales and the editor of the journal History of Science. Iwan had previously written two excellent academic articles with historical interest to physiotherapists:
Morus, I. R. (2006). Bodily disciplines and disciplined bodies: Instruments, skills and victorian electrotherapeutics. Social History of Medicine, 19(2), 241-259, and Morus, I. R. (1999). The measure of man: Technologizing the victorian body. History of Science, 37(117), 249-282.
On a similar historical theme, this piece on hydrotherapy in The Guardian (‘A tonic for the jaded‘) reminded me of a story from the beautiful Rotorua Spa here in New Zealand that I was told some years ago. At the end of the 19th century, New Zealand became a centre for health tourism and spas became a big thing. There was no mixed bathing at the spas because Victorian heteronormative attitudes were very strong at the time and so, ironically, the Rotorua Spa became the centre of gay culture. Thus proving Foucault’s point that there can be no power without resistance!
On that note, I’ll end this post. I’ll pull together some more favourites from the last few weeks in the coming days and weeks. Here’s wishing you a happy New Year and a warm welcome to 2015.