The Disciplines Series: Evaluation, Value, and Evidence

Medicine, the Humanities, and the Human Sciences —a two-day conference

Friday, April 12, 2013 - Saturday, April 13, 2013  9:00am Jerome Greene Annex & Lehman Auditorium, 202 Altschul Hall, Barnard College


Free and open to the public

First come, first seated

Click link below to register


The University Seminar on Narrative Health and Social Justice

Institute for Comparative Literature and Society

The Institute for Research on Women and Gender

The Center for Gender and Sexuality Law

Department of History, Barnard College

To register, please click here:

Over the next four years, the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia will offer a series of events on the topic of “Evaluation, Value, and Evidence.”  This series aims to examine the methods by which various disciplines and field studies describe, measure, assess, articulate, judge, and produce knowledge by different means and for different ends.

Taking “medical humanities” as its subject, the first conference in this series considers some of the investigations and interventions made by those who study illness and health from the perspectives of the arts, humanities, and human sciences.  Presentations by medical practitioners, historians, social justice advocates, medical journalists, disability studies and narrative studies scholars will be interspersed with readings by poets and novelists, reports from the field, and a theatrical performance.

Among the questions to be addressed are:  What roles do methods like description, measurement, prediction, and interpretation play in the evaluative practices of the interdisciplinarily diverse context known as “medical humanities”?  How are diverse values—ethical, clinical, psychological, experimental, political, aesthetic, financial, and so forth---measured and assessed?  How do disciplinary investments and methodological differences affect how evidence is produced, evaluated, and valued?   How, for example, do healthcare practitioners evaluate health and value human life?  How do narrative practices affect medical evaluation?  How is the price of a human organ determined—or the worth of efforts to save an individual life?  How does “data” gain and lose its evidentiary status as it moves between the various “medical humanities” disciplines?  To what material, formal, and social constraints is evidence subject?  How do categories of evidence gain authority or fall under suspicion?  How do representational forms affect the persuasiveness of evidence—and for which audiences or constituencies?  Whose testimony matters?  How do new kinds of evidence (DNA, for example) change existing regimes of knowledge?

Watch this conference on Vimeo.

This Conference is made possible through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


  • Rachel Adams

    Professor of English and Comparative Literature

    Columbia University

  • Jenny Allen

    Writer and Monologist

  • Christopher Baswell

    Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English

    Barnard College

  • Joshua Bennett


  • Kathy Boudin

    Assistant Professor

    Columbia University School of Social Work

  • Paul Browde

    Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

    New York University

  • Eric J. Cassell

    Emeritus Professor of Public Health

    Cornell University

  • Rita Charon

    Director and Founder, Program in Narrative Medicine

    College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University

  • Susan Coppola

    Clinical Professor,
    Division of Occupational Science

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Sayantani DasGupta

    Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Faculty, Master's Program in Narrative Medicine

    Columbia University

  • Elizabeth Emens

    Professor of Law

    Columbia University

  • Valeria Finucci

    Professor of Italian Studies and Theater Studies Romance Studies

    Duke University

  • Eileen Gillooly

    Executive Director

    Heyman Center for the Humanities

  • Rishi Goyal

    Doctor and Scholar

  • Rachel Hadas

    Professor of English

    Rutgers University

  • Carolyn Halpin-Healy

    Executive Director

    Arts & Minds

  • Terrence Holt

    Assistant Professor of Social Medicine and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine

    University of North Carolina, School of Medicine

  • Marsha Hurst

    Master Program in Narrative Medicine

    Columbia University

  • Brian Hurwitz

    D’Oyly Carte Professor of Medicine & the Arts

    Kings College London

  • Alvan A. Ikoku

    Assistant Professor

    Albert Einstein College of Medicine

  • Uzodinma Iweala


  • Jordynn Jack

    Associate Professor, Department of English

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Marie Myung-Ok Lee


  • Murray Nossel

    Founder & Director


  • Gianna Pomata

    Institute of the History of Medicine

    The Johns Hopkins University

  • Benjamin Reiss


    Emory University

  • Cherie Rosemond

    Co-Director: The Hubbard Program

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Barry Saunders

    Associate Professor, Social Medicine

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • David Serlin

    Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Communication

    University of California, San Diego

  • Judith Shulevitz


  • Maura Spiegel

    Associate Professor of English

    Columbia University

  • Ishita Srivastava

    Multimedia Producer


  • Jane Thrailkill

    Associate Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Neil Vickers

    Reader in English Literature & Medical Humanities

    Kings College, London

  • Jonathan Weiner

    Maxwell M. Geffen Professor of Medical and Scientific Journalism

    Columbia University

  • James Whitehead

    Lecturer in Medical Humanities and English

    Kings College, London


By Semester