INTD: On Human Suffering

The soul breathes through the body, and suffering, whether it starts in the skin or in a mental image, happens in the flesh.

Antonio Damasio

Knowledge of the ways we present and receive stories is essential for understanding our responses to illness, death, and suffering.  We will spend the next three weeks studying stories told from the perspective of a young girl whose body betrays her and from two different sons, each struggling to comprehend a lost father, and finally from to an entire culture unable to see the degradation of others.  We will also spend considerable time casting a critical eye on the ways we as individuals and as a culture respond to pain.  Part of our analytical project will be to explore the differences between narratives or stories and photographic or filmic images in order to ask how these representational differences influence our responses to the suffering of others.

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