The Right Mixture: The Theory and History of the Four Humours (as told with cocktails), an Illustrated lecture with Michael Goyette, PhD
Date: Thursday, July 9th
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn
From the days of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates until the advent of modern medical research in the nineteenth century, the theory of the four humours profoundly shaped concepts and practices in Western medicine. This schema stipulated that health could be achieved by regulating and maintaining the proper balance of the four essential bodily fluidsblood, phlegm, bile, and the enigmatic substance known as black bile. Conversely, illness was attributed to the excess or deficiency of one of these humours. This presentation will explore the origins of humoural theory, its theoretical basis and development through the centuries, and its application by physicians from the time of the Greeks onward. We will also examine why this theory, with its flawed premises (what in the world, after all, is 'black bile'?) and potential perils to health, was so influential and enduring through the centuries. With the aid of cocktails representing each of the humours in an interactive activity, we will explore relevant ideas pertaining to the maintenance of proper mixture, the regulation of health according to individual temperament through the ingestion and purgation of fluids, and the all important idea of moderation. This simulation will teach participants about the purported* applications of humoural theory, including its diagnostic criteria and its implications for their own unique constitution, personality, and overall sense of well-being.
Michael Goyette, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at Brooklyn College. He specializes in the study of ancient medicine and Greek and Roman tragic drama. He has published articles on various subjects in academic journals, and he regularly gives lectures about his research at conferences across the country and abroad. Michael has taught courses at Brooklyn College and Hunter College on a variety of topics, including Greek and Roman Medicine, Greek and Roman Mythology, Latin language and literature, and the Greek and Latin Roots of the English Language. He has developed creative pedagogies to engage students in the study of these subjects, and he has given presentations about teaching practice and theory at national conferences.
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424 A Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215