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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

CHSS Speakers Series: "On Being Ill": Stories from a Century of Medical Transformation

Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 @ 11am


Join us in welcoming Dr. Ann Jurecic, Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, as she presents "On Being Ill": Stories from a Century of Medical Transformation. In the 21st century, stories of personal illness are everywhere: in books, magazines, and films, in vast quantities online, and even compressed into Tweets. Our willingness to disclose information about sickness would have been unthinkable a century ago. American literature, for example, is virtually silent about the 1918 flu. But seventy years later, an outpouring of memoirs about AIDS established the illness narrative as a popular and literary genre that has, in turn, inspired new memoirs about disability and genetic risk. In this talk, Professor Jurecic will discuss the emergence of narratives about illness during the twentieth century and the cultural work performed by these narratives. She will also examine contemporary memoirs about genetics and genomics and ask how the stories we tell about health, illness, risk, and the self are evolving as our understanding of humanity is transformed by personal DNA testing.

Dr. Jurecic's publications include her recent book Illness as Narrative (2012) and articles such as "Life Narratives in the Genomic Age" (The Lancet, March 2014) and "Empathy and the Critic" (College English, 2011). A new book about writing, Habits of the Creative Mind, is forthcoming in 2014.

This event is part of the CHSS Speakers Series and is free and open to Rowan and the surrounding community. We thank the Office of the Provost, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine for their support.

Location: Eynon Ballroom, Chamberlain Student Center