Talk, Melissa Miller: "Boring Stories? Narrative Medicine in Bulgakov and Chekhov" (part of the "Educating the Whole Physician" Conference)


Location: Innovation Park

Just as humans are complex beings with biological, social, and spiritual dimensions, so modern biomedicine is a chimeric enterprise in that it is simultaneously and indivisibly technical, social and humanistic. Preparing students for a life of medical practice therefore requires much more than giving them a high standard of technical competence; it requires giving them the knowledge base and the analytical skills to understand medicine as a social, political, economic and cultural enterprise. It also requires giving them the space to reflect on the human meaning of a life in biomedicine.

Embracing this role in premedical education is both the responsibility of and an opportunity for the social sciences and the humanities.  This workshop brings together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners--historians, sociologists, theologians, literary scholars, surgeons, family medicine practitioners and administrators to discuss how the humanities and the social sciences can rise to this challenge. What should we be teaching the medical professionals of the future, when and how? And what kind of institutional and programmatic structures do we need to create to effectively support this type of interdisciplinary education? The workshop is open to the Notre Dame community, but does require registration. Plenary sessions on Thursday and Friday are open to the public.

Melissa Miller, Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures, and Language Program Director of Russian, University of Notre Dame. Dr. Miller’s research focuses on the intersections between science and art in Russian literature and culture in the late 19th through the 20th centuries. She is currently preparing a monograph on science and sexuality in the fiction of Anton Chekhov. Professor Miller’s other research and teaching interests include the medical humanities, science fiction in Russia and Eastern Europe, gender studies, Second Language Acquisition, and all levels of Russian language.

Go to for the full conference schedule.