Oslo and Bergen, Norway

Oslo, Norway

BETH 314N/415N Narrative Medicine: Aging, Mental Illness and Cancer

Approved for Global and Cultural Diversity Credit, College of Arts and Sciences; Approved for Humanities Credit, School of Engineering


Approximate Cost

$3050 (including $200 deposit)


Course Description

Narrative Medicine, or medicine practiced with narrative skills (as defined by Rita Charon,PhD), is a methodology in patient-centered medical education. Narrative medicine is informed by the theory and practice of reading, writing, telling, and receiving of stories as a clinically empowering practice for anyone engaged (or planning to engage) in the field of healthcare. This course will employ various methods of learning and experiencing narrative, including fundamental skills of close reading and reflective writing and other forms of self-representation. Narrative competence is an important skill that enables a person to “recognize, absorb, interpret, represent, and be moved by the stories of illness”. Major themes throughout the course will include caregivers’ and patients’ empowerment, empathy, narrative ethics, testimony, reflexive writing, and illness and medical stories.

The course will be conducted in a seminar-type format.  Each session will have readings that relate to the theory of narrative (primarily from the Charon textbook but also from other sources in the Ethics and Humanities professional literature) and related health humanities.  Many of the sessions will also include the application of close reading of short stories and reflective writing.  Additional elements will be use of film, music, poetry and visual art. This class is open to graduate students in any humanities or healthcare field and will be especially useful to those who intend to have a future career in which direct care of patients/clients is a part of their work.