What might it mean to recover medicine as a moral art – medicine and health as something beyond a physical, empirical practice? Drawing heavily on my fieldwork of CURE Children’s Hospital of Uganda, a pediatric neurosurgical site that pioneered a revolutionary treatment of hydrocephalus, we’ll explore an integrative healing approach based on their specific practical theology of health and human flourishing and its implementation in their infrastructure, practices, and habits, with particular emphasis on the dialectic of physical and spiritual healing – most notably, intimate prayer and cutting-edge brain surgery. We will also consider the centrality of joy and suffering as a dyad forming theological underpinnings to human flourishing, and human flourishing so conceived as a candidate for the ultimate goal of medicine, as well as discuss challenges of articulating any substantive moral end in empirically driven practices like medicine in secular democratic societies.
Ryan Gillespie, PhD, is a Lecturer in the Study of Religion Program at UCLA. Broadly, he is interested in how we talk about what we value, more specifically intersections of morality & religion, bioethics, and the public sphere, with subinterests in political economy and rhetorics of science. His work has appeared in Philosophy & Rhetoric, Journal of Medical Humanities, Quarterly Journal of Speech, the Journal of Cultural Economy, International Journal of Communication, and Communication, Culture & Critique, as well as numerous edited book volumes. His current research project, funded in part by the Templeton Foundation and the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, asks what a recovery of medicine as a moral art might mean in contemporary practice, and this talk includes a case study from that project.
Light lunch will be providedEvent Flyer