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CCH Seminar – 17th July – Caitlin Mahar

Join us online or in person for a seminar with Dr Caitlin Mahar.

A Modern Good Death? Nineteenth-Century Foundations of Medical Care of the Dying

This paper explores the foundations of modern medical management of the dying in the context of changing conceptions of the good death and suffering in the nineteenth century. In doing so it gestures to some of the ways understandings of what constitutes ethical care of the dying have changed over time in western societies such as Britain and Australia. Through the writings of British pioneers of this new medical art it examines the complex and shifting relationship between religious and medical attitudes to pain in western societies – particularly as regards the ethics of administering strong analgesics to the dying. It argues that scientific and religious understandings of suffering should not be seen as antithetical. Instead, it draws attention to the way they have intersected and informed one another, shaping – and continuing to shape – medical ethics as well as broader cultural norms regarding the best way to care for the terminally ill and ideas about what constitutes a good death.  

11am, 17th July 2024

Burwood: C2.05.01
Waurn Ponds: IC2.108
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Dr Caitlin Mahar teaches history at Swinburne University of Technology. She completed a PhD in history at the University of Melbourne in 2016 in the course of which she was awarded the Society for the Social History of Medicine Roy Porter Essay Prize, the Australian and New Zealand Society for the History of Medicine Ben Haneman Memorial Award and the University of Melbourne’s Dennis-Wettenhall Prize. Her book about medical care of the dying and euthanasia activism, The Good Death Through Time (Melbourne: MUP, 2023) was shortlisted for Educational Publishing Australia’s EPAA Scholarly Book of the Year award.