English and Comparative Literature
Undergraduate and Graduate Lecture
Bioethics grapples with some of the most charged issues of our contemporary moment: where life begins and ends, the definition of personhood, the role of technology in creating, shaping, and sustaining human life, the significance of genetic information, the scientific basis of race and gender, allocation of medical resources, relations among doctors, scientists, patients, and families. Although these issues concern us all, they tend to be debated by select groups of specialists, favoring the perspectives of philosophers, doctors, scientists, and clinicians. This course offers an alternative by considering bioethical questions through the lens of consumers, patients, research subjects, family members, and caregivers. Rather than privileging the “case study,” a genre that provides the clinician’s view of the bioethical scenario, we will focus on stories, asking how narrative provides new insight and bring attention to previously unrepresented points of view. Each week, narratives in film and print will be paired with critical readings that highlight the bioethical issues at stake.
Link to Vergil Note: only courses offered during the two previous semesters have active Vergil links.