My ERC Starting Grant funded project, “The birth of the digital doctor? A comparative anthropology of medical techno-perception” examines the impact of the digital in medicine by studying the role of pedagogical technologies in how doctors learn the skills of their profession.
Digital technologies are reconfiguring medical practices in ways we still don’t understand. This research project, entitled “The birth of the digital doctor? A comparative anthropology of medical techno-perception” seeks to examine the impact of the digital in medicine by studying the role of pedagogical technologies in how doctors learn the skills of their profession. It focuses on the centuries-old skill of physical examination; a sensing of the body, through the body. Increasingly medical students are learning these skills away from the bedside, through videos, simulated models and in laboratories. My research team will interrogate how learning with these technologies impacts on how doctors learn to sense bodies. Through the rich case of doctors-in-training the study addresses a key challenge in social scientific scholarship regarding how technologies, particularly those digital and virtual, are implicated in bodily, sensory knowing of the world. Our research takes a historically-attuned comparative anthropology approach, advancing the social study of medicine and medical education research in three new directions. First, a team of three ethnographers will attend to both spectacular and mundane technologies in medical education, recognising that everyday learning situations are filled with technologies old and new. Second, it offers the first comparative social study of medical education with fieldwork in three materially and culturally different settings in Western and Eastern Europe, and West Africa. Finally, the study brings historical and ethnographic research of technologies closer together, with a historian conducting oral histories and archival research at each site. Findings will have impact in the social sciences and education research by advancing understanding of how the digital and other technologies are implicated in skills learning. The study will develop novel digital-sensory methodologies and boldly, a new theory of techno-perception. These academic contributions will have practical relevance by improving the training of doctors in digital times.
This project is funded by the European Research Council through their Starting Grant scheme the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No 678390). You can find more information about the project on the website: www.makingclinicalsense.com.
Publications to date:
Harris, Anna, Sally Wyatt, Andrea Wojcik, Harro van Lente and John Nott in correspondence with Rachel Vaden Allison and Carla Greubel (2020). Thumbnail sketches: learning the worlds of others through collaborative imaginative ethnography, American Anthropologist: http://www.americananthropologist.org/postcards/harris/
Melissa van Drie and Harris, Anna (2020) The stethoscope goes digital, Gesnerus: Swiss Journal of the History of Medicine and Sciences, 77 (1): 123 – 148.
Harris, Anna and John Harris. (2020) TT01: Playing in the Pandemic, Cultural Praxis, July 8: http://culturalpraxis.net/wordpress1/2020/07/08/tt01-playing-in-the-pandemic/
Craddock, Paul, and Anna Harris. (2020). Workshopping: Exploring the Entanglement of Sites, Tools, and Bodily Possibilities in an Academic Gathering. Journal of Embodied Research, 3(1), 2 (16:17).
Harris, Anna and Andrea Wojcik. (2020) Digital Learning in Cultural Anthropology Editors’ Forum.
Sticky Objects: History as friction in obstetric education, Medicine Anthropology Theory(2020),
(2020) in Qualitative Education and Social Science Research: Approaches, Practices, and Ethical Considerations edited by
Harris, Anna, Andrea Wojcik & Rachel Allison (2020) How to make an omelette: A sensory experiment in team ethnography. Qualitative Research, Early Online, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1468794119890543
Harris, Anna, Shanti Sumartojo and Sally Wyatt (2019) “Designing for atmospheres of learning”, https://fasos-research.nl/fasos-teachingblog/2020/01/15/designing-for-atmospheres-of-learning/
Harris, Anna (2019) The culinary art of clinical simulation, The Gourmand June edition: https://thegourmand.co.uk/products/the-gourmand-issue-12
Harris, Anna (2018) “Autophony: Listening to your Eyes Move” In The Ethnographic Case edited by Emily Yates-Doerr and Christine Labuski, Mattering Press: https://processing.matteringpress.org/
Harris, Anna and Jan-Joost Rethans (2018) Expressive instructions: ethnographic insights into the creativity and improvisation entailed in teaching physical skills to medical students. Perspectives on Medical Education, 7 (4), pp 226–227.
- With commentary: “Teaching clinical skills in the theatre of medicine” by Gerard Gormley and Paul Murphy, Perspectives on Medical Education (Online First).
Harris, Anna (2018) Working on the bias. Perspectives on Medical Education 7: 67.
Harris, Anna. (2016). “Embodiment” in Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology, edited by John Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press
Harris, Anna. (2016) Popcorn or dirty socks (Guest post for Marres Senses)
Harris, Anna (2016) The sensory archive (exhibition review). The Senses and Society 11 (3): 345 – 350.
Nott, John and Anna Harris (under contract) Between Blackboards and Formaldehyde: The Matters of Knowledge. London: Intellect.
Harris, Anna (Oct 2020) A Sensory Education. London: Routledge.
Sven Dupré, Anna Harris, Patricia Lulof, Julia Kursell, Maartje Stols-Witlox (eds) (due for publication 2020) Reconstruction, Replication and Re-enactment in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Amsterdam University Press.
Harris, Anna, Sally Wyatt, Andrea Wojcik, Harro van Lente and John Nott (forthcoming). Thumbnail sketches: learning the worlds of others through collaborative imaginative ethnography (American Anthropologist)
Craddock, Paul and Anna Harris, The workshop (Journal of Embodied Research)
Melissa van Drie and Harris, Anna. The stethoscope goes digital (Gesnerus: Swiss Journal of the History of Medicine and Sciences)
Sven Dupré, Anna Harris, Patricia Lulof, Julia Kursell, Maartje Stols-Witlox (forthcoming) “Introduction” In Reconstruction, Replication and Re-enactment in the Humanities and Social Sciences edited by Sven Dupré, Anna Harris, Patricia Lulof, Julia Kursell, Maartje Stols-Witlox, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam.