Research

In their PhD projects, Jolien Gijbels and Joffrey Liénart study the role and the later memory of ideological conflict in 19th-century Belgian medicine. Their research provides answers to two sets of research questions. Firstly, they are studying both the clashing ideological views of Catholic and liberal physicians, and their willingness to bypass ideological disagreements within scientific exchange. To tackle this question, their research focuses on four medical subfields where ideological difference was most clearly at play: mental health and gynecology is the focus of Jolien’s research, while Joffrey concentrates on family medicine (‘médecine de famille’) and public health. The second set of research questions concerns professional identity formation. How and when did physicians develop both common and ideologically specific professional and/or scholarly identities? By answering both questions, the PhD projects offer a well-informed historical perspective to actual bioethical discussions concerning euthanasia, abortion or the boundaries of medical research in which religiously and/or philosophically inspired divides are at stake.