Balliol GP is awarded history fellowship

Tuesday 12 March

Farrah Jarral (photo: Johanna Hayward, Balliol 2000)Former medical student Dr Farrah Jarral (Balliol 2000) has been awarded an Alistair Horne Visiting Fellowship at St Antony’s College, Oxford, ‘designed to encourage the completion of works in modern history and biography’.

Since leaving Balliol Farrah has worked as a GP in inner-city London and as a writer and broadcaster. Her recent radio work for BBC Radio 4 includes a ten-part series on social and cultural anthropology, From Savage To Self (in 2011-2012 she studied medical anthropology at Harvard as a UK-US Fulbright Scholar), and a radio essay on the concept of resilience as part of the Keywords for Our Time series.

During her fellowship at St Antony’s she will be expected to write a work of non-fiction for a general readership. Her work, she says, ‘is going to be an energetic, interdisciplinary project examining how we think and have thought about the concept of the soul in its broadest sense, explored through a set of existential questions that look for answers in the fields of science, technology, anthropology, medicine, history, philosophy, and the ordinary lived experiences of human beings I meet on this quest’. She is writing it ‘because I want to address several questions that have been bothering me for a few years. Many of these questions have arisen from my experiences in the emotionally turbulent landscape of medical practice over the last decade - questions like “How does the first heartbeat start?” ”What exactly happens at the moment of death?”’

Embarking as ‘a curious explorer, not an expert’, she will conduct fieldwork around the world. ‘I’m absolutely thrilled to be awarded the fellowship, and intend to give it my all.’