May 26th Monash Masterclass on Narrative Bioethics: Intersex, Embodiment and Identity”

When: Thursday 26 May 2016, 11am to 3 pm

Where: 20 Chancellors Walk N402 Monash University, Melbourne (with lunch provided, 12:30 – 1:15 pm)

Convenors: Dr Maria Vaccarella (Bristol University) & Dr Silvia Camporesi (King’s College London)

About Narrative Bioethics:

By definition, bioethics is an interdisciplinary enterprise across the social sciences and the humanities. Narrative approaches to bioethics further emphasize this cross-field collaboration, as they employ narratological concepts to unpack the moral implications of stories in and beyond clinical settings. In addition, the universal quality of health and body related issues positions medicine (in its broadest sense) as the perfect ‘bridge’ for an interdisciplinary training across the humanities and social sciences.

This masterclass is adapted from our Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Course on Narrative Bioethics run in May 2015 at King’s College London. We expand on the more traditional ‘case studies’ approach and adopt a ‘case stories’ approach to training, taking into account the narrative qualities of bioethical cases. With the help of journal articles, novels and films, students will discover intriguing new ramifications of their research, while working towards more discipline-specific training objectives. Students in social sciences will learn how to implement a bottom-up approach to bioethics, grounded in a fine-grained description of cases, as opposed to top-down normative frameworks such as principlism. Students in the humanities will learn how to tease out the ethical (alongside the aesthetical and political) implications of the cultural products and phenomena they are researching.

The workshop will be structured around an introductory  mini-lecture in which we explore key narratological and bioethical concepts. We will then focus on the timely question of medical and societal approaches to intersex, the topic of one the latest issues Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics . There will be time for hands-on analysis of personal narratives, fictional accounts and film clips that will inform our discussion of the medical discourse about intersex bodies and the legal aspects of gender assignment surgery.

About the convenors

Dr Maria Vaccarella in Lecturer in Medical Humanities at the University of Bristol (UK). Previously a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medical Humanities at the Centre for the Humanities and Health, King’s College London, Dr Vaccarella works on literature and medicine (especially neurology), narrative medicine and critical disability studies. Her most recent publication is “Disembodiment and Identity in Literary Depictions of Epilepsy Surgery,” Literature and Medicine 33.1 (2015): 1-22

Dr Silvia Camporesi is a Lecturer in Bioethics & Society in the Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine at King’s College London, where she coordinates the MA in Bioethics & Society. Silvia is interested in the socio-ethical implications of genetic technologies in reproduction and sport. Her book From Bench to bedside to track and field: the context of enhancement and its ethical relevance was published for UC Medical Humanities Press in 2014.

To reserve a place, please RSVP Associate Professor Mark Davis ( by 6 May

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