"Suffer Well" Mellon Sawyer Seminar - Illness as Method: Patrick Anderson, Mel Chen, Lochlann Jain, and Lana Lin

 Center for Medical Humanities     Jan 15 2020 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Humanities Gateway 1030

Lana Lin Headshot

What is revealed about illness when it is represented in the mode of writing that academics are professionally trained in—the scholarly monograph? Scholars, their ostensible and fantasized life of the mind notwithstanding, can get sick, and they all die, someday. If the scholar’s vocation is to examine the range of possibility of human (and non-human) life and give it some understanding or social meaning, then is the experience of illness, even one’s own, an archive or data set or plentiful text enough? What method can attend to illness’ interruption? What discipline can cordon the body undone? Join us for a lively and improvisatory conversation with four scholars who engage their own respective experiences of illness in their scholarship, four colleagues who lived to tell a critical tale, and who will impart their learning of what their bodies taught them and might teach us.

Patrick Anderson is Professor of Expressive Culture and Performance at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Autobiography of a Disease (Routledge, 2017).

Mel Y. Chen is Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley and Director of the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. They are the author of Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke, 2012).

Lochlann Jain is Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University and a Visiting Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’ College London. Jain is the author of Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us (UC Press, 2013).

Lana Lin is an artist/scholar and Associate Professor of Film Theory and Digital Cinema at The New School, NY. She is the author of Freud’s Jaw and Other Lost Objects: Fractured Subjectivity in the Face of Cancer (Fordham, 2017).

PDF copies of chapters from the four authors’ books will be made available below. 

The venue is wheelchair accessible. Requests for accommodations, including ASL interpretation, can be provided with advance request. Please contact jkl@uci.edu.

This event is part of the Mellon-Sawyer "Suffer Well" Seminar Series and is made possible by generous support from the Mellon Foundation. The Sawyer Seminar is a yearlong series that will offer lectures, symposia and presentations from invited speakers that explore human suffering in its various forms and to develop future scholarly projects that confront directly the place of suffering in human experience.

Readings can be downloaded here: