What is the Health Humanities Lab?

The Health Humanities Lab, run by the Franklin Humanities Institute, is an initiative that bridges the humanities, Duke Health, and the Duke Global Health Institute.


The FHI Health Humanities Lab takes an inventive interdisciplinary approach to understanding the health of populations locally and worldwide through work grounded in histories, literatures, languages, cultures, arts, media, and critical theory. The lab structure is intrinsically vertically-integrated, involving undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and community in interest-driven research projects. We are also interested in thinking about the “whole person” in Campus and Health contexts: the dynamic continuum along which the identities of learners, educators, patients, and health care providers, are not mutually exclusive.  As Provost Kornbluth has commented, “Beyond helping to train compassionate and humanistic health care providers and providing new therapeutic interventions, the health humanities can offer us novel, interdisciplinary ways of thinking about health and what it truly means to be ‘well.’”


Co-sponsored by the Provost of Duke University, Sally Kornbluth, and the Chancellor of Duke Health, Eugene Washington, the FHI HHL is committed to facilitating collaborative innovations between practitioners and scholars in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences, and their counterparts in the Health Sciences. The Franklin Humanities Institute is collaborating with a sister University Institute, the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), to situate this lab in a new crossroads of Campus and Health: the HHL will be located in a renovated space at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) at 310 Trent Drive. The FHI synergy with DGHI will facilitate new flows and interactions, including course cross-listings familiarizing Global Health students with humanities course options. The FHI Health Humanities Lab also synergizes with the Duke, University of Virginia, and University of Bologna “Academy in Global Humanities and Critical Theory.” During Fall 2016, while renovations to the DGHI space are underway, the FHI Health Humanities Lab is operating out of Project Room 2 in The Edge at Bostock Library.

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