CPLS W4220: Narrative, Health, and Social Justice| S. Dasgupta

Tu 10:10-12:00, 4 points


Narrative medicine – its practice and scholarship – is necessarily concerned with issues of trauma, body, memory, voice, and intersubjectivity.  However, to grapple with these issues, we must locate them in their social, cultural, political, and historical contexts.  Narrative understanding helps unpack the complex power relations between North and South, state and worker, disabled body and able-body, bread-earner and child-bearer, as well as self and the Other (or, even, selves and others).  If disease, violence, terror, war, poverty and oppression manifest themselves narratively, then resistance, justice, healing, activism, and collectivity can equally be products of a narrative based approach to ourselves and the world.

This course will explore the connections between narrative, health, and social justice.  In doing so, it broadens the mandate of narrative medicine – challenging each of us to bring a critical, self-reflective eye to our scholarship, teaching, practice, and organizing.  We will examine such questions as: How do power and hierarchy – on an interpersonal, institutional, cultural, social, or political scale – impact the work of Narrative Medicine? How can we ‘read’ multiple, simultaneous narratives – ie. the individual and the sociopolitical? What are the intersections of Narrative Medicine with health advocacy and activism on local, national, and global levels? How can the pedagogy of Narrative Medicine enact social justice in health care? In other words, how do we teach Narrative Medicine and why? Finally, how are the stories we tell, and are told, manifestations of social injustice?  How can we transform such stories into narratives of justice, health, and change?

The class will be run in seminar format, and will pedagogically centralize learner participation and presentation.  Texts assigned weekly will be broadly interdisciplinary – drawing from literature, feature and documentary films, post-colonial studies, disability studies, sociology, anthropology, psychology, criminology, public health, and trauma studies. Students should come to class prepared to engage with each other and with the instructor and to offer their questions, comments, insights, and analysis. Students who are able to read texts in the original language are encouraged to do so (and may be required to do so in the case of certain majors).

Link to Vergil

Posted in: 2017 Spring Graduate, 2017 Spring Undergraduate, ALL, Past Courses

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