culture + environment creating health + wellbeing engaged research

Luna Dolezal

Centre Co-Director: Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Research Culture


I am a Professor in Philosophy and Medical Humanities. My research is primarily in the areas of applied phenomenology, philosophy of embodiment, philosophy of medicine and medical humanities. My work is driven by an interest in understanding lived experience and embodiment, and how these intersect with, are co-determined by, the socio-political and technological frameworks in which we are enmeshed.

My current research is primarily focused on three inter-related themes: (1) shame and self-conscious emotions; (2) embodiment and self-other relations; and (3) emerging medical and body-based technologies.

At present, I am the PI on the Shame and Medicine project (Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award) and a co-I on the Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures project (Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award). I am also PI on the UKRI-AHRC Covid Rapid Response project Scenes of Shame and Stigma in COVID-19.

My monograph, The Body and Shame: Phenomenology, Feminism and the Socially Shaped Body (Lexington Books, 2015), considers philosophical conceptions of embodied subjectivity through the work of the phenomenological thinkers Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre, while engaging with feminist and medical scholarship on cosmetic surgery. This book explores how shame plays a key role in the social shaping of the body and the formation of subjectivity, using shame as a conceptual means to reconcile the phenomenological and scoial constructionist accounts of embodied subjectivity. In this work, I use feminist accounts of shame and the case study of cosmetic surgery to demonstrate how the human body can literally be shaped by shame.

I have recently completed a co-authored book with Fred Cooper and Arthur Rose, COVID-19 and Shame: Political Emotions and Public Health in the UKwhich is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic in their Interventions in Critical Medical Humanities book series.

I am also working on a book project, The Politics of Chronic Shame, which explores the social and political dimensions of chronic shame with a focus on critical phenomenology.

I am the PI of the Shame and Medicine project, funded by a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award. This project is a collaboration with Dr Barry Lyons (Children’s Health, Ireland) and Dr Matthew Gibson (University of Birmingham) and is an engagement between medical practitioners, social scientists, philosophers and medical humanities scholars seeking to investigate the role of shame in the context of health, medicine and medical practice.

I am the PI of the Scenes of Shame and Stigma in COVID-19 project which is funded by a UKRI-AHRC Covid Rapid Response Award. This project is a collaboration with Dr Arthur Rose and Dr Fred Cooper and investigates the sites and cirucumstances of shame, shaming, stigma and discrimination during the first 12 months (January-December 2020) of the COVID-19 health crisis.

I am a co-I on Professor Stuart Murray’s project Imagining Technology for Disability Futures which is based at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, Dundee and Exeter and has been funded by a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award.

I am on the Steering Committee of the Nordic Network for Gender, Body and Health/

My publications can be accessed through my Academia.edu page.