Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Professor Heather Widdows to Speak at Two Events - 21st and 22nd November 2014

One of our own professors, Professor Heather Widdows, will be speaking at two events this weekend. The first on global health and the second on her new project 'Perfect Me!' which considers the dominant beauty ideal, its demands and implications.

Her first talk is on Friday as part of a conference organised in Birmingham's Law School by the Centre for Health Law, Science and Policy, in response to a presentation entitled Global Health Law, by Larry Gostin. Heather's talk is titled, ‘Global health justice and the right to health’. And in it she reflects on whether Larry’s broadly communal vision of global health justice is well served by making the right to health central to his project. She considers some of the reasons why rights-talk might be problematic in the context of health justice; namely, structurally, rights are individual and state-centric and politically they are oppositional and better suited to single-issue campaigns. She will suggest that stripping rights of their individualist assumptions is difficult, and perhaps impossible, and hence alternative approaches, such as those Larry endorses, based on public goods and/or security might deliver much, perhaps most, global health goods, while avoiding the problems of rights-talk.

Details of the conference can be found here:

You might also be interested in hearing Larry speak on ‘Ebloa: Towards an International Health Systems Fund’. This is a public lecture on Friday 21st November (5.30-7.30) – all are very welcome.

To register visit:

Heather's second talk is on Saturday in London at Conway Hall in London. Her talk about beauty and happiness, is entitled, ‘More Perfect, More Happy?’. Here she will  consider whether and in what ways appearance and body image – being perfect – is connected to happiness. A current prevalent assumption is that those who are more perfect will be happier. Many women (and men) judge themselves and others on how much they ‘fit’ the dominant ideal, on how perfect they are, and their sense of self often follows from this. That being perfect connects to being happy is often assumed: ‘if I’m thinner, prettier, sexier s/he’ll love me more’ or ‘if I was ten pounds lighter, I’d be happier with myself and my life would go better’. This talk is part of her wider project on beauty and research for the book she is currently writing called ‘Perfect Me!’ (for Princeton University Press). The other two speakers are very impressive: Professor Lord Layard, (co-editor of co-edited the 2012 World Happiness Report), and Professor Elaine Fox (author of Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain).

For more information on this event go to:

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