Call for Papers

This conference will bring together physicians and other health-care professionals, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, and scholars of the humanities around a set of questions about the interrelations among their respective disciplines.  Narrative medicine, a term coined by Dr. Rita Charon, conveys the realization that the art of medicine is saturated with narrative practices, not only in the creation of a therapeutic alliance between physician and patient but also in teaching others about illness and in entering into public discourse about how medicine should be practiced in our culture.  By training physicians to listen more empathically and to see case histories as narratives, narrative medicine seeks to enhance their capacity for self-reflection and thus the quality of the care they provide.

In many ways, psychoanalysis is a quintessential embodiment of narrative medicine.  Famously described by Josef Breuer's patient Anna O. as a "talking cure," psychoanalysis is founded on the proposition that emotional suffering can be alleviated through discourse.  It was integral to Freud's vision that psychoanalysis could be a natural science even though he realized that his case histories resembled works of literature.  Besides being a mode of clinical practice, psychoanalysis has had a profound influence on literary studies and indeed on all areas of modern culture.  The question of how or whether a bridge can be constructed between the arts and the sciences of healing today lies at the heart of our interdisciplinary gathering.  

To complement the lectures by our outstanding plenary speakers, we invite papers from all interested participants on any aspect of the broad range of themes relevant to the conference.  All proposed papers will be accepted and placed in an appropriate seminar to be led by one of the plenary speakers.  (It is not, however, necessary to submit a paper in order to register for and participate in the conference.)  These papers will be posted on the conference website as they are received and thereby made available in advance of the conference.  Participants will be expected to read the papers of other members of the seminar to which they have been assigned. The seminars will be limited to no more than eighteen participants and will take place on either Friday or Saturday afternoon.  Papers should be sent as e-mail attachments to Peter Rudnytsky at:

As a special feature of the conference, there will be an exhibition at the Harn Museum of Art, "The Private Life of Sigmund Freud: Photographs of Edmund Engelman," consisting of Edmund Engelman's original 1938 black-and-white photographs of Freud's apartment at 19 Berggasse and his collection of antiquities.   Transportation to and from the hotel will be provided on Friday and Saturday afternoons for conference participants who are not involved in a seminar on that day.  A discussion of Engelman's classic images of pre-World War II Vienna, and of the Harn's collections as a whole, will be led by the distinguished art historian and scholar of psychoanalysis Lynn Gamwell.  The Florida Museum of Natural History is located adjacent to the Harn Museum and may also be visited during the same afternoon.




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