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The Institute for the Liberal Arts

Genetics, Narrative, and Identity



Learn more about our speakers at

Friday, November 22, 2013
McGuinn 334 & Higgins 300
Boston College


The Story of Illness: Where Is It Written? When? By Whom?
Public Keynote Lecture by Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D.
5:00 p.m. | Higgins Hall, room 300

Please note: the keynote address is open to the public and no registration is necessary. Other sessions of this workshop are by invitation only and require registration. Contact Amy Boesky for details.

event schedule


Friday, November 22, 2013: McGuinn 334

9:45 a.m. Introduction & Opening Remarks
Amy Boesky, Boston College
10:00 a.m.

Roundtable I: Genetics, Identity, and the Changing Stories of Self

Writers, academics, and activists talk about challenges associated with genetic predispositions for Huntington’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cystic fibrosis. Kelly Cupo, Alice Wexler, Charlie Pierce, Kate Preskenis, Michael Downing (Tufts), and Isabel Stenzel Byrnes. Moderator: Catherine Read, PhD, RN. Associate Dean, Boston College Connell School of Nursing.

12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m.

Roundtable II: Genetics, Family, and Culture: Changing Narratives, Changing Worlds

Authors, activists and academics discuss the ways genetic “diagnoses” for conditions such as hereditary blindness or deafness, schizophrenia, muscular dystrophy, and Fragile x impact our sense of family and community. Mara Faulkner (College of St. Benedict’s, St. John’s University), Christine O’Hagan, Clare Dunsford (Boston College), Patrick Tracey, Misha Angrist (Duke), and Jennifer Rosner. Moderator: Lisa Sowle Cahill, J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology, Boston College

2:30 p.m.
3:00 p.m. Workshop in Narrative Medicine
with Rita Charon, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University
4:30 p.m.
5:00 p.m.
Keynote Address in Higgins 300
Rita Charon, M.D, Ph.D.
The Story of Illness: Where Is It Written? When? By Whom?
6:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks
James Keenan, S.J., Founders Professor of Theology, Boston College