A reading from The Birthright Mansion: At Home in the World of Chronic Illness

Megan Moodie
Thursday, April 27, 2023

Humanities Gateway Rm. 1341


Professor Megan Moodie will present an excerpt from her book-in-progress, The Birthright Mansion: At Home in the World of Chronic Illness. The Birthright Mansion is a creative nonfiction book that combines memoir, imaginative ekphrasis, and accessible feminist analysis to tell the story of Professor Moodie's diagnosis with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) in 2016, at age forty, after a decade in which she became disabled -- that is, "unhoused" from the body she thought she knew. hEDS is a genetic connective tissue disorder that causes joint instability, fragile skin, and chronic pain. In addition to raising questions about contemporary medicine's inability to deal with complex, chronic issues, genetic illness also raises importance questions about inheritance: What do we carry with us? Where does trauma live in the body? Drawing on the works of feminist artists across history who spoke from a place of embodied vulnerability, The Birthright Mansion proposes a creative practice for building imaginative spaces in which sick women can dwell and draw sustenance.

Megan Moodie

Bio:  Megan Moodie is a cultural anthropologist, writer, performer, and feminist theorist whose work spans genres from traditional scholarship to essays, fiction, drama, dance, and film criticism. As an Associate Professor of Anthropology with affiliations in Feminist Studies, Film & Digital Media, and Legal Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, she specializes in teaching experimental research methods that bring together social sciences and the arts. Her recent work on disability, motherhood, and artistic practice has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Catamaran, Hip Mama, and Sapiens. In 2019, her essay “Birthright,” which appeared in the Chicago Quarterly Review (Volume 26), was named a Notable Essay of the Year by Best American Essays.