Writing Seminars: Communicating Pain

Why is physical pain so difficult to communicate? What kinds of pain—and which bodies in pain—tend to receive priority over others? Given the challenges of perceiving the suffering of other beings, how can we hold ourselves responsible for the pain we inflict, witness, and experience? This course will investigate philosophical, political, aesthetic, and bioethical strategies for expressing and responding to physical pain. We will begin with theoretical readings on the challenges that the experience of pain poses for linguistic, visual, and auditory communication. Pain is universal but not uniform, and we will consider how race, gender, and species shape the political recognition of pain. Turning to contemporary medical ethics and public health, we will explore dilemmas of pain management, and their applications to chronic pain, disease, euthanasia, and end-of-life care.


Students who wish to enroll in this seminar should participate in online preregistration, December 7 at 9:00 a.m. - January 9 at 5:00 p.m.

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TTh 1:00pm-2:15pm