Main South: Medical anthropologist Arthur Kleinman to give talk at Clark U

As the world continues to read about and debate the story about Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman with brain cancer who is planning to take her own life in November, Clark is hosting Dr. Arthur Kleinman, a very relevant speaker on illness, the relationship between caregiving and narrative, and the ways in which the humanities and interpretive social sciences matter for doctors and other caregivers.

Please join us for this important talk!

Caregiving as Moral Experience

7 pm
Monday, Oct. 20
Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, Clark University campus

Dr. Arthur Kleinman will discuss the primacy of the patient’s lived experience of illness, the relationship between narrative and caregiving, and the ways in which the humanities and interpretive social sciences matter for doctors and other caregivers.

Kleinman is professor of medical anthropology in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

In this article in which Dr. Kleinman talks about his own experience caring for his wife, Joan, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
“I am not a naive moralist. I’ve had far too much experience of the demands, tensions, and downright failures of caregiving to fall into sentimentality and utopianism. Caregiving is not easy. It consumes time, energy, and financial resources. It sucks out strength and determination. It turns simple ideas of efficacy and hope into big question marks. It can amplify anguish and desperation. It can divide the self. It can bring out family conflicts. It can separate those who care from those who can’t or won’t handle it. It is very difficult. It is also far more complex, uncertain, and unbounded than professional medical and nursing models suggest. I know about the moral core of caregiving not nearly so much from my professional life as a psychiatrist and medical anthropologist, nor principally from the research literature and my own studies, but primarily because of my new life of practice as a primary caregiver.”