Honors | Medicine, Magic and Mortality
H203 | 0009 | Rollins
9:30-10:45A TR GG101
Honors 203 fulfills COAS topics requirement.
If you were suddenly afflicted with a catastrophic illness, would you
feel compelled to write about it? If so, you are a part of a growing
number of Americans who, once confronted by visions of their own
mortality, feel a need to memorialize their experiences in print.
This course, team-taught by professors, physicians, patients, health-
care professionals, clergymen, monks, and a shaman, will explore the
profound and even mystical relationships between literature and
medicine. The course will survey the disparate ways people, both
experienced and first-time writers, have chosen to reconstruct their
experiences with chronic, life-threatening illnesses in prose, film,
music, and dance. Beginning with a review of Aristotle and classical
ideas of representation in the arts, the course quickly will narrow
its focus to the reconstruction of the sick-self, or the illusion of
the sick-self, in illness narratives.
The class has several venues on campus, including the MAC where
students walk classmates through their life-maps. A very active class
email chat room, where students continue discussion after class, is
another feature of this course which prospective students should
consider. While the class will write two short critical essays,
revising one of them, and a living will, the major project in the
class will be to adopt a chronic illness, research it, and then write
a chapter of a fictive pathography. There are no exams.
The current class syllabus, assignments, sample student papers, and
other relevant links can be found at http://php.indiana.edu/~jarollin
The instructor, a kidney transplant who has written about his own
illness, is a professor in the Honors College.
Students interested in the class are encouraged to write Jack Rollins
for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.