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MMHU6910 - Narrative, Literature and Medicine
Faculty of Medicine (Sydney Medical School) - 6 credit points
HECS Band three
EFTSL: 0.125000000
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Department: Centre for Value, Ethics and Law in Medicine
Offered session(s): 2
Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Estelle Noonan

Classes: 1x 2 hr seminar weekly (evening) or online

Assessment: 500-1000 word online assessment (10%); 1 x 1,500 word essay (25%); 1 x 3,500 word essay (50%); 1 oral presentation (15%)

This unit of study explores the connections between literature, narrative and medicine. From writings by Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, and Virginia Woolf, to contemporary texts by Vincent Lam and Jean-Dominique Bauby, students will encounter and analyse a wide range of literary and non-literary narratives concerned with illness, embodiment and healing. The unit will provide a space for informal discussion and reflection on the texts we encounter, while also introducing students to influential theories of narrative and modes of cultural, literary and linguistic analysis that can further enrich our understandings of these texts. Students are encouraged to probe the limits (the 'what', 'how', and 'who') of knowledge issuing from literary and other modes of narrating health. Topics or themes covered during the course include: narrative theory (narratology); narrative competence; literary/cultural representations of health practitioners; rhetoric (semiotics) of health; literary/cultural constructions of disability and femininity; narrative ethics; language and embodiment; medico-literary ‘genres’ (e.g. autopathography and the medical [anti]bildungsroman); narrating death and dying; and the limits of narrative.
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