Inter/Dependency: A Symposium on the Medical Humanities


From: Thursday, April 19, 2018, 10:30am

To: Thursday, April 19, 2018, 05:00pm

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Thursday, April 19, 2018
Academic Building West Wing, Room 6051
15 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ

“Inter/Dependency,” a one-day symposium, will explore questions of connection and relationality in the medical humanities. Sessions will focus particularly on notions of health, illness, and dis/ability; the production of knowledge about bodies, institutions, and environments; and formal mediations between and among literature, the visual arts, and the (social) sciences.





 10:30am | Coffee and Welcome

10:45am-12:15am | Panel 1

  • Jane Thrailkill (English and Comparative Literature, UNC - Chapel Hill) - "Empathetics, Inc.: Teaching Feeling in U.S. Medical Schools"
  • Cristobal Silva (English, Columbia University) - "A Silent History of Nostalgia"
    • Respondent: James Walkup (Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University)

 12:15pm-1:15pm | Lunch (provided)

 1:15pm-2:45pm | Panel 2

  • Erica Fretwell (English, SUNY Albany) - "Body Images"
  • Keren Hammerschlag (Art History / Women's and Gender Studies, Georgetown University) - "Whistler's Hybrids"
    • Respondent: Kathleen Pierce (Art History, Rutgers University)

 2:45pm-3:15pm | Coffee Break

 3:15pm-4:45pm | Panel 3

  • Anthony Hatch (Science in Society, Sociology, and African American Studies, Wesleyan University) - "Overdose: Institutional Addiction in the U.S. Carceral State"
  • Priscilla Wald, (English / Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, Duke University) - "What Has Life Become?"
    • Respondent: Nicholas Allred (English, Rutgers University)

 5:00pm | Reception




Erica Fretwell, SUNY Albany

Erica Fretwell is Assistant Professor of English at SUNY - Albany. She is completing her book, "Sensitive Subjects: The Psychophysics of Feeling in 19th c America." Her essays have appeared in American Literary History and J19: The Journal of 19th-Century Americanists. She recently edited a special issue of Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities entitled "Common Senses and Critical Sensibilities," which is forthcoming next month (May). An essay on tactile reading & writing practices is forthcoming in the volume Timelines of American Literature (eds. Chris Hager & Cody Marrs), which is coming out in the fall. Essays to be included in The New Whitman (ed. Matt Cohen) and The Cambridge Companion to Food & Literature (ed. Michelle Coghlan) are in the pipeline. 


Anthony Ryan Hatch, Wesleyan University

Dr. Anthony Hatch is associate professor of Science in Society, Sociology, and African American Studies at Wesleyan University. His research and teaching focus on science, medicine, technology, and social inequalities. He is the author of Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) which critiques how biomedical scientists, government researchers, and drug companies use concepts of race and ethnicity to study and treat “metabolic syndrome.” He is a proud member of the Black Phoenix Rising Collective and the Racial Democracy, Crime, and Justice Network. Dr. Hatch is finishing a new book tentatively titled Silent Cells that examines how social institutions use psychotropic drugs to manage the thought and behavior of institutionalized populations.


Keren Hammerschlag, Georgetown University

Keren Hammerschlag is an Assistant Teaching Professor and Researcher in Art History and Women's and Gender Studies at Georgetown University. Every semester at Georgetown she teaching a course on 'Art, Medicine, Gender.' Before coming to the United States she was a Wellcome Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for the Humanities and Health at King's College London, working on the theme of 'Case Studies of Medical Portraiture.' She holds a PhD  from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her book, Frederic Leighton: Death, Mortality, Resurrection, was published by Ashgate / Routledge in 2015, and was recently released in paperback. She has published several articles in the medical humanities, including most recently in The Burlington Magazine. She is  currently writing her second book, provisionally entitled The Colour of Empire: Representing Race in Victorian Painting.


Cristobal Silva, Columbia University

Cristobal Silva is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he specializes in literatures of the colonial Americas. He is an Editor of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, and author of Miraculous Plagues: An Epidemiology of Early New England Narrative (Oxford 2011).  Recent work includes a special issue of Early American Literature on "Early American Disability Studies," which he co-edited with Sari Altschuler. He is currently writing a book titled Republic of Medicine, and preparing a digital edition of James Grainger's The Sugar-Cane with Julie Kim.


Jane Thrailkill, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Jane Thrailkill is Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Associate Professor in the department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. From her website: "From my days as a pre-med student at Amherst College, I have a strong interest in the interdisciplinary field of medical humanities. At UNC, I've collaborated with the Honors Program and with colleagues across campus to create an undergraduate minor and a new graduate program in Literature, Medicine, and Culture. My talk for TEDxUNC (2013) looked at the serious issue of hospital-based delirium and describes how literary study can give insight into medical problems. I have been part of the Medical Humanities initiative at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and look forward to participating in the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes MH working group in Hong Kong (June 2014). My first bookAffecting Fictions: Mind, Body, and Emotion in American Literary Realism (Harvard University Press), examines literary, scientific, and philosophical works of the 19th century to argue that emotion is crucial to acts of reading and interpretation. The study makes its case by examining fiction written by Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, Henry James, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Stephen Crane, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, and by drawing on research by neuroscientists, philosophers, and cognitive psychologists today."


Priscilla Wald, Duke University

Priscilla Wald is R. Florence Brinkley Chair of English and Margaret Taylor Smith Director of the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University, where she co-edits American Literature with Matthew Taylor. She is the author of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative (Duke, 2008) and Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form (Duke, 1995) and co-editor of The American Novel 1870-1940, volume 6 Oxford History of the Novel in English with Michael Elliott. Wald’s professional service includes co-editing the America and the Long Nineteenth Century series at NYU Press with David Kazanjian and Elizabeth McHenry, serving as head of the faculty board of Duke University Press, on the Editorial Board of Penn Studies in Literature and Science, as Senior Editor for American Literature, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature, and on the board of the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at Hong Kong University; she also co-directs the First Book Institute at Penn State’s Center for American Literary Studies. She is currently working on a monograph entitled Human Being After Genocide.


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Events sponsored by the Center for Cultural Analysis are free and open to the public, unless specifically noted