maandag 19 november 2012

Expert-meeting Narrative, Ethics, and Medicine with Rita Charon: Call for Proposals

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We are pleased to inform you about an upcoming expert-meeting with Professor Rita Charon. The event, organized by VU University and VU University Medical Center, will take place in Amsterdam on the 9th of March, 2013.

Charon is Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is a pioneer in and an authority on narrative medicine. Generated from a confluence of sources and disciplines, including medicine, literary studies, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy, narrative medicine aims to introduce the competence to recognize, interpret and be moved by patients’ illness stories in health care. By, among other things, recognizing the temporal complexity of clinical events, by establishing connections using metaphor and figural language, narrative medicine helps to recognize patients and diseases, convey knowledge, and accompany patients through the ordeals of illness. In this way, narrative medicine has the potential to establish a more humane, ethical, and ultimately, more effective health care.

We are honored to have the opportunity to organize a meeting for PhD-students and advanced RMA-students from different disciplines to reflect on the value of Charon’s work. Those who would like to participate in this event are kindly invited to relate their own research projects to the ideals and conceptual principles as elaborated by Charon in Narrative Medicine. Honoring the stories of illness (Oxford UP, 2006/8), and in numerous other publications.

Subjects for contributions include but are not limited to:
  • Theoretical and methodological reflections on central concepts and ideas in Charon’s work, such as representation - attention - affiliation, empathy, coherence, narrative ethics, and the relation between body and mind. 
  • Case studies concerning autobiographical or fictional illness narratives and artworks on illness.
  • The implementation of narrative medicine in medical education and practice.
Practical notes: 
PhD-students and advanced RMA-students are invited to submit a proposal. Presentations should take max. 15 minutes, and are followed by 10 minutes discussion. Participants are encouraged to use power point or bring a hand-out. Proposals (max. 250 words) should be submitted by the 1st of January 2013. Abstracts may be in Word formats with the following information: a) name, b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract. E-mails should be entitled: Charon VU Proposal Submission.

We acknowledge receipt; if you don’t receive a reply from us in one week you should assume we did not receive your proposal. You will be notified whether or not your proposal has been selected by 4 January 2013. A maximum of 6 speakers will be invited.

Further details about the time and exact place of conference will be announced as soon as possible. RMA-students will be given 1 ects for their presentations and critical contributions.   

Anne-Fleur van der Meer (PhD-student, Literature & Culture, VU Amsterdam)
Wouter Schrover (PhD-student, Literature & Culture VU, Amsterdam)
Dr. Arko Oderwald (Associate Professor Medical Humanities, VU Medical Center)
Prof. Ben Peperkamp (Professor of Modern Dutch Literature, VU Amsterdam)

Submissions should be sent to: Anne-Fleur van der Meer ( and Wouter Schrover (

Reading suggestions
Charon, R. ‘Literature and Medicine: Origins and Destinies’. In: Academic Medicine 75 (2000) 1: 23-27. Charon, R. Narrative Medicine. Honoring the Stories of Illness. Oxford UP: Oxford / New York, 2006. ---. ‘At the Membranes of Care: Stories in Narrative Medicine’. In: Academic Medicine 87 (2012) 3: 342-347.
Charon, R. and M. Montello, eds. Stories matter. The role of narrative in medical ethics. Routledge: New York, 2002.

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