ENGL 509A 001: The Rhetoric of Pain – Term 2

Instructor: Judy Segal
Term: 2
Meets: Tuesday 2:00 pm-5:00 pm, Buchanan Tower 597

Course Description

Pain is not a diagnosis, or even a medical object: it is an experience, with problematic relations to language, to identity, and to sympathy. It challenges speech and it challenges persuasion; pain is, in other words, in part, a rhetorical phenomenon. This course will take up topics in the rhetoric of pain, including, for example, the following: pain and suffering; pain and affect; pain and addiction; pain and health inequities; pain and stigma; pain and disability, pain and gender. Through investigations prompted by the course, students will have a range of theoretical approaches and methods at hand when they read accounts of pain, literary and nonliterary, or when, in fact, they experience pain or (to borrow from Susan Sontag) they regard the pain of others.