Based on their recently published book, Imaging and Imagining Illness, the presenters discussed the history of anatomical illustrations, the use of contemporary medical imaging technologies in the doctor-patient relationship, and how medical images affect persons living with chronic illness.
On June 14, Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl delivered the Jean Vanier Emerging Scholar Lecture at the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability in Raleigh, NC. Dr. Stahl was awarded this lectureship based on her dissertation work and letters of recommendation regarding her scholarship on disability. Dr. Stahl’s lecture was titled, “From Idol to Icon: Transforming Medical Images into DisArt.” Based largely on her recent book, Imaging and Imagining Illness, she discussed how fine art can transform medical images and challenge our cultural associations with disability. Dr. Stahl is the third Vanier Emerging Scholar and co-director of the PhD seminar at the Summer Institute.
.@DevanStahl on why she uses the word “monstrous” in her disability art: “We don’t use the word monster anymore, but sometimes we still mean it.” #SITD18
Thankful for friends like Dr. Devan Stahl (@DevanStahl) exploring the nebulous boundaries of story, identity, and art. Sometimes the only way to capture/gesture towards the holiness of the embodied experience. #SITD18pic.twitter.com/QuIQk9aqrI
On Friday, March 30, Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl participated in an Interdisciplinary Forum on Humanities in the Health Sciences, presented by the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University.
The panel consisted of five presenters discussing their latest research: Drs. Elahe Crockett (Department of Medicine), Robert Root-Bernstein (Department of Physiology), Natalie Phillips (Department of English), William Hart-Davidson (Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures), and Dr. Stahl. Each presenter discussed bridges between arts and science, how essential synthesis and translation are to medical science, and the ambiguity inherent in art, communication, and medicine. Using resources from fine art, literature, and communication, each speaker showed how medicine can benefit from engagement with the humanities and vice versa. The event was well attended by faculty from all parts of the university who were eager to discuss how to engage in interdisciplinary work.
For more on Dr. Stahl’s work at the intersection of art and medicine, listen to Episode 7 of No Easy Answers in Bioethics, the Center’s monthly podcast.
Episode 7 of No Easy Answers in Bioethics is now available! This episode features guests Devan Stahl, Assistant Professor in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, and Darian Goldin Stahl, artist and printmaker. This episode delves into the intersection of fine art, illness, disability, and self-identity. The recently released book Imaging and Imagining Illness: Becoming Whole in a Broken Body began as a collaboration between sisters Devan and Darian, one with personal origins. The edited volume examines the impact of medical imaging technologies on patients and our wider culture. In this episode, they discuss Darian’s artistic process, how audiences have reacted to the artwork, and how they came to invite other scholars to build on their work.
This episode was produced and edited by Liz McDaniel in the Center for Ethics. Music: “While We Walk (2004)” by Antony Raijekov via Free Music Archive, licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. Full transcript available.
About: No Easy Answers in Bioethics is a podcast series from the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Each month Center for Ethics faculty and their collaborators discuss their ongoing work and research across many areas of bioethics—clinical ethics, evidence-based medicine, health policy, medical education, neuroethics, shared decision-making, and more. Episodes are hosted by H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online.
Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl has a new book available from Cascade Books, Imaging and Imagining Illness: Becoming Whole in a Broken Body. Edited by Dr. Stahl with a foreword from Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, the collection of essays draws from the disciplines of medical humanities, literature, visual culture, philosophy, and theology.
From Dr. Stahl:
Imaging and Imagining Illness explores the effects of imaging technologies on patients’ body image and self-understanding as well as the ways they influence our cultural understandings of illness. The project began as a collaboration between my sister Darian Goldin Stahl and myself. After I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I shared my stories of living with MS as well as my MRIs with Darian. As a print artist, Darian began using my scans in her artwork as a way to give a more complete picture of what it is like to live with illness. Darian’s art had a profound effect on how I saw myself and inspired me to open our collaboration to others. We invited four other scholars to build on our work from their unique disciplines and shed light on the meaning of illness and the impact medical imaging can have on our cultural imagination. Drs. Therese Jones and Kirsten Ostherr offer reflections from their disciplines of medical humanities and visual culture and media studies. Having read all of the previous chapters, Drs. Ellen T. Armour and Jeff P. Bishop build on previous insights and add reflections from theology and philosophy. By engaging illness through multiple disciplines, the book represents the many ways we can understand and represent illness.
Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl has an article in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Medical Humanities, titled “Caretaking through Art: A Sibling Story.” The article is co-authored by artist Darian Goldin Stahl, Dr. Stahl’s sister.
Available online first on October 1, 2016, the article is now published in a special issue of the journal: “Caregiving, Kinship, and the Making of Stories” (edited by Carol Schilling and Mark Osteen). The article is available in full on the Springer website (MSU Library or other institutional access may be required to view this article).
Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl recently attended the Sixth Annual Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Conference, held September 15-16 in Kalamazoo. Dr. Stahl planned and moderated a panel and workshop on the use of fine art in medicine. Presenters discussed how fine art can help providers to understand illness narratives, can help highlight the ethical dilemmas of medical technologies, and can be used to help medical students learn to navigate ambiguity and communication in their future practice.
Dr. Stahl also presented at last week’s Society of Michigan Neonatologists annual conference, held in East Lansing. In her talk, “Medical Interventions for Children with Trisomy 18: How Far Should We Go?,” Dr. Stahl discussed how to navigate the ethical and medical complexities surrounding decisions for the treatment of infants with trisomy 18. She discussed strategies for interacting with families who request aggressive treatment for their child, and how to work productively with other health care providers when managing the care of a child with trisomy 18. The presentation produced a lively and energetic discussion with the audience.
Assistant Professor Devan Stahl, PhD, recently published an original article in Medical Humanities. Dr. Stahl’s article, “Seeing illness in art and medicine: a patient and printmaker collaboration,” is co-authored by her sister, artist Darian Goldin Stahl. The piece features personal and insightful commentary from both authors, delving into chronic illness, body image, and reclaiming or reframing one’s experiences through art.
Abstract: For many patients, viewing one’s illness through medical imaging technology can be an unsettling experience. Patients are likely not to see themselves represented in medical images and may find it difficult to reconcile this new image with their own body image. In this article, a patient with multiple sclerosis and a printmaker describe a collaborative project they have developed, wherein the patient’s medical images are incorporated into pieces of fine art. The aim of the project is to open up the interpretation of the ill-body to persons outside the medical field, so as to do justice to the multiple dimensions of the body chronically ill persons often inhabit.