A Theatre of Emotions: the affective landscape of 19th century British surgery


  • Dr Michael Brown

    University of Roehampton

Project summary

We will engage young people aged 15–30 about views and stereotypes concerning surgeons and surgery which are created by the media. We will introduce them to the range of emotions found in the operating theatre, from the camaraderie of teamwork, anxieties about pain and death, and debates surrounding elective procedures, which can be a fix for emotional vulnerabilities. These young people will also interact with surgeons and historians of surgery as we interrogate the cultural motifs of surgical teamwork as it has been eroticised and romanticised. 

This programme will enrich the project’s understanding of public attitudes towards surgery and emotions. It will demystify surgery for our participants and challenge negative stereotypes of surgeons. By questioning cultural stereotypes, we will enrich understanding of professional emotional culture, promoting better healthcare experiences. By broadening perceptions about who can be a surgeon, we hope to encourage a diverse group of young people to consider STEM careers.