Medical Humanities Mondays Series
Abstract: The earliest of civilizations, from many Native American cultures to that of the ancient Greece, recognized an inextricable interrelationship between poetry and therapeusis. Yet in modern American medicine, too often seductive technologies and scientific hubris distance and divide physicians from the afflicted, whom we treat as dehumanized patients. This lecture will examine the profound connections between creative self-expression and healing, and will contrast a humane “biocultural” narrative of the illness experience with today's unfeeling biomedical understanding of disease. I will also consider how poetry has an especially important role in medical education, in illuminating questions about empathy and compassion, sparking cross cultural understanding, bearing witness to suffering, de-objectifying and celebrating the sensual, physical body, confronting and embracing uncertainty, and exploring end of life issues. By showing how poetry can inform and enrich both the practice and the teaching of medicine, I will affirm the value of a broad interdisciplinary engagement across the humanities and the sciences.
Location and Address
501 Cathedral of Learning