Medical imaging technologies can help diagnose and monitor patients’ diseases, but they do not capture the lived experience of illness. In this volume, Devan Stahl shares her story of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis with the aid of magnetic resonance images (MRIs). Although clinically useful, Stahl did not want these images to be the primary way she or anyone else understood her disease or what it is like to live with MS. With the help of her printmaker sister, Darian Goldin Stahl, they were able to reframe these images into works of art. The result is an altogether different image of the ill body. Now, the Stahls open up their project to four additional scholars to help shed light on the meaning of illness and the impact medical imaging can have on our cultural imagination. Using their insights from the medical humanities, literature, visual culture, philosophy, and theology, the scholars in this volume advance the discourse of the ill body, adding interpretations and insights from their disciplinary fields. “”In this fascinating and quite unique book, Devan Stahl and some of those who love her offer a deep, rich, and at points quite moving insight into what it means to live into enduring forms of illness. The interdisciplinary approach is powerful in the way that it allows us to see Devan’s illness experiences from a variety of perspectives. . . .I commend this book and I pray that it both informs and changes people’s views on what it means to live humanly in the company of enduring illness.”” –John Swinton, Professor, School of Divinity, King’s College University of Aberdeen “”In Imaging and Imagining Illness, Devan Stahl breaks new ground in the now well-populated field of illness writing. Combining personal memoir, artwork, rigorous analyses from bioethics and medical humanities, and philosophical reflection, it offers fresh interdisciplinary insights into the experience of illness and disability in a technologized medical world. More than anything else I have read, Stahl’s book shows the reader how the person in illness interweaves multiple perspectives to give meaning to their experience.”” –Jackie Leach Scully, Executive Director, Policy Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre “”This transcendentally lyrical work is about relationships: between a woman and her body; between her-self and evolving life with an unpredictable illness; between a printmaker–her sister–and her materials; and between two sisters in narrative and graphic counterpoint. . . . Other voices–a literary scholar, a theologian, and a physician-philosopher–enhance the complexity and texture of the artistic pas-de-deux at the center of the book. Above all it reminds us of the potential, in Devan Stahl’s words, that ‘resistant acts of creation’ have for humanity and emancipation.”” –Arno K. Kumagai, Professor and Vice Chair for Education, Women’s College Hospital, University of Toronto “”Blending the verbal and the visual, the personal and the scholarly, this unique volume takes us on a wondrous journey from patient to print and icon that will make readers look at medical images with an entirely fresh eye. The result is proof that illness narrative is an invitation to share vulnerability with others and of the transformative power of imaginative and collaborative perspectives on the ill body. It deserves to be widely read.”” –Stella Bolaki, Author of Illness as Many Narratives: Arts, Medicine and Culture Devan Stahl is Assistant Professor of Clinical Ethics in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University.
About the Author
Devan Stahl is Assistant Professor of Clinical Ethics in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University.
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