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7AAEM662 Narrative Medicine

Credit value: 20 credits
Module convenor: Professor Brian Hurwitz
Assessment: 1 x 4,000 word essay

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: One two hour weekly seminar
Pre-requitistes: None

Module description:

This module explores commonalities and differences in assumptions and methods of two distinct yet overlapping fields and provides the theoretical basis and intellectual tools for productive dialogue between them. The module concentrates on the various ways in which arrangements of information, encoded in language and/or gesture, can be conceptualised as narratives, for example, by literary theory, ethnography, qualitative studies methodologies and narrative medicine.

Elements to be explored through in-depth study of a growing canon within narrative studies in medicine include: the storied nature of symptoms and representations of patient experience in clinical literature and case reports; the ‘case’ as a storied account and an important element in the development of the novel in the C18th and its elaboration in detective fiction in the C19th; the case as ‘an epistemic genre’ comprised of ‘wordy knowledge’; differences in written register between case reports of earlier times, today’s clinical cases and life-writings - memoirs, illness narratives, biography; the case as a unit of clinical thinking; the validity of interface metaphors and similes such as ‘disease as text’, ‘patient as text’ and ‘diagnosis as a form of close reading’; the intellectual coherence of the conjunction and juxtaposition of narrative and medicine.


The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.


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