Monday, October 14, 2013

The Medical Center Hour - In the Name of Pain: Pain and the Stigma of Disability

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

12:30-1:30 pm

Jordan Conference Center Auditorium

University of Virginia School of Medicine


A John F. Anderson Memorial Lecture

In the Name of Pain: Pain and the Stigma of Disability

Tobin Siebers PhD, Department of English, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI

Lois Shepherd JD, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities and School of Law, UVA 

David B. Morris PhD, University Professor emeritus, UVA, Charlottesville VA

Everyone wants to avoid pain, whether it be psychological, mental, spiritual, or physical. Medicine’s focus on eradication of pain draws attention to it, and efforts to manage or eliminate it drive biomedical research and consumer markets alike. But is there less pain as a result? And what are the costs of thinking of human beings as potentially pain-free? This is not to suggest that people should seek out pain but rather to question whether avoidance of pain produces more suffering in the form of discrimination against those—often, people with disabilities—whom we believe to be in pain or already suffering too much. What would it mean to name pain not as alien to human existence but as one of the defining conditions of being human?

In this Medical Center Hour, three experts—in disability studies, bioethics, and the cultural study of pain and pain medicine—consider our complicated attitudes toward pain, especially as we (think we) regard it in others.