Past Lectures | Educating the Whole Physician

December 3, 2019 (invited by Joyelle McSweeney, Creative Writing Program)
Narrative Medicine, Writing, and Work of Creativity
Nellie Hermann, Novelist and Creative Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University
Nellie Hermann is the author of novels The Cure for Grief and The Season of Migration (named a New York Times Editor's Choice), and co-author of The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine. She is a recipient of a NEA literature grant and was a 2017-18 Cullman fellow at the New York Public Library and 2018-19 fellow at The Institute for Ideas & Imagination in Paris, France. She teaches creative writing at Columbia University where she is the Creative Director at The Program in Narrative Medicine. She has taught and lectured widely on the use of creativity in nontraditional contexts.

Abstract: Narrative Medicine posits that healthcare can benefit from a more robust practice in the work of listening to, thinking about, and creating stories. In this talk, I will explore the general concepts behind the work of Narrative Medicine (as it is practiced at Columbia University) through my particular lens, which is the work of creativity. Why should those in the clinical realm know anything about how to write, or cultivate creativity? I will explore these questions and more, sharing my own experience as an example of how the work can be entered into and practiced.

October 14, 2019 (invited by Maria Alexandrova, Eck Institute for Global Health)
"Fight Abortion, Not Women": Understanding the Challenges of Russian Reproductive Politics
Michele Rivkin-Fish, Associate Professor of Anthropology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Abstract: In 2011, the first grassroots public campaign to defend abortion as a legally accessible procedure emerged in Russia: “Fight Abortion, Not Women,” the on-line campaign insisted, using a slogan that differs dramatically from “pro-choice” advocacy in the U.S. Moreover, a phrase in the campaign’s url, “protivabort,” or “against abortion,” also challenged Western assumptions about how abortion debates are structured. This presentation will explain why many Russian defenders of legal access to abortion characterize themselves as “against abortion,” by examining the history of reproductive politics in the Soviet and post-Soviet contexts. It will also explore the changes occurring in family planning since the end of the Soviet era, and discuss the challenges and opportunities characterizing women’s health and advocacy in contemporary Russian society.