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University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES)
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Faculdade de Letras
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International Conference Narrative and Medicine: Illness and Dialogue

Date: September 13-14, 2010
Venue: FLUL
Co-organized by: University of Lisbon Centre of Philosophy, New University of Lisbon Centre of the History of Culture

For more information, contact the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (217920092), This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , website http://medicineandnarrative.blogspot.com/

The concept of Narrative and Medicine stems from the belief that narrative awareness is crucial for the improvement of medicine practices and complementary to evidence-based methods. Attention to the patients’ body language and storytelling requires empathy and time, two things that are lacking in health systems that may offer hospitals but not always hospitality. Doctors and healthcare professionals will benefit from learning how to frame and adapt their  narratives, namely in breaking the news of disease and in prescribing treatment. How doctor and patient manage to dialogue across the clinical divide is certainly decisive to the healing process and the ability to cope with pain; thus, the field of narrative not only encompasses communicative skills, but is in itself, of long, a therapy used to project and relieve suffering. Narrative based medicine honors, develops and potentiates the clinical encounter. Literary Studies, sharing with the discipline of Philosophy a preoccupation with hermeneutics and ethics, give us competences and skills to identify patterns of narrative construction and their internalization, which may be useful for clinical procedures and therapy prescriptions.

Medicine and Narrative, Illness and Dialogue
is an International Conference to be held at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon, September 13-14, 2010, jointly organized by the University Lisbon Centre for English Studies, the Centre of Philosophy from the same university, and the Centre of Cultural History from the New University of Lisbon. It will bring together teachers and researchers in  humanities and medicine, healthcare professionals and patients, in sessions comprising keynote lectures, panels and paper presentations, open to all, and allowing sufficient time for debate and participation from the audience. The conference will also showcase artworks dealing with suffering and storytelling, namely through film screenings, a literature reading and an exhibition.

The meeting will be a first interdisciplinary initiative aiming to assess the viability of a new research field in Portugal, involving the areas of Medicine, Literature and Philosophy. Programs such as the one we envision have already successfully been developed in the US (Narrative Medicine; Medical Humanities) and the UK (Medical Humanities), and they have been attracting many scholarly input and the interest of concerned communities. The end beneficiaries are not only patients but also doctors and healthcare professionals, since both ethical criticism and narrative analysis have much to contribute for furthering therapeutic relations.

Keynote speakers:
João Lobo Antunes, Full Professor of Neurosurgery; Pessoa Prize for outstanding achievements (1996); State Counselor;  author of Inquietação Interminável (2010).
Richard Zaner, Professor Emeritus of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Vanderbilt Univeristy; author of Conversations on the Edge; Narratives of Ethics and Illness (2004)
Rita Charon: director of the program Medicine Narrative at Columbia University, author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (2006)  
Academic Committee: Adelino Cardoso, Isabel Fernandes, Manuel Silvério Marques, Rita Charon


University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES)

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