Carnegie PhD Scholar awarded Robertson Medal, 2020-21
Project Title: Persuasion in Preventative Medical Texts 1848-1914
My research will examine the persuasive language of preventative medicine in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, investigating how individuals were persuaded to protect and preserve their health. Given that a considerable portion of disease is preventable, it is crucial to recognise how individuals are influenced to act, and yet, it is intriguing that the language of preventative medicine has been significantly neglected in scholarship. There is a wealth of under-researched textual evidence from the Victorian and Edwardian eras demonstrating that topics such as diet were prominently discussed, contrary to the hyper-modernisation of prevention as a twenty-first century phenomenon.
My methodology will draw on research from a multitude of interrelated areas, spanning communication studies, classical rhetoric, and modern linguistics. This multi-layered approach allows for the classical approach to rhetoric to be complemented by recent advances. Through this I aim to compare the texts based on several factors, primarily the type of publication and the type of preventative behaviour.
This PhD is particularly topical considering current efforts to promote ‘prevention over cure’. Through analysing Victorian and Edwardian discourses of prevention, this research will improve our understanding of the roots of preventative medicine in Britain, contextualising issues which remain paramount today.
Awarded: Carnegie PhD Scholarship
Field: English Language & Linguistics
University: University of Glasgow