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This interdisciplinary and inter-institutional seminar explores the connection between narrative, health, and social justice. If disease, violence, terror, war, poverty, and oppression all manifest themselves in narrative, then it is equally true that resistance, justice, healing, activism, and collectivity can be products of a narrative-based approach to ourselves and the world. Narrative understanding helps unpack the complex power relations between North and South, state and worker, disabled body and able-body, bread-earner and child-bearer, subject and researcher, patient and provider as well as self and the other. The seminar will draw from such fields as journalism, performance arts, law, public health, trauma studies, anthropology, sociology, literary studies, medicine, writing, and cultural studies. The common thread will be the narratives we tell as individuals, families, communities, and nations that situate our experience in social, political, and cultural contexts, and that express in so many ways our search for justice in our world and for our world. Our aim is to broaden the mandate of each of our disciplines, challenging each of us to bring a critical, self-reflective eye to our scholarship, teaching, practice, and organizing. How are the stories we tell manifestations of social injustice? How can we transform such stories into narratives of justice, health, and change?
Mario de la Cruz