Michael Blackie

Associate Professor of Biomedical Humanities

Ph.D. in English, University of Southern California, 2004
M.A. in English, Georgetown University, 1998
B.A. in English with Honors, California State University, Northridge, 1993


Michael Blackie joined the Center for Literature and Medicine and the Hiram College Faculty in 2010-2011.

Positions Held

  • Assistant Professor of Biomedical Humanities, Hiram College (present)
  • Editor, Literature and Medicine Book Series, Kent State University Press (present)
  • Assistant Director, Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, USC 2008-2007
  • On-Sight Director, USC Cambridge Study-Abroad Program, USC July 2007
  • Post-Doctoral Lecturer and Writing Program Coordinator, General Education Honors
  • Program (Thematic Option), USC, 2004-2006

Book Manuscript

Rest Cures: The Narrative Life of a Medical Practice

Currently revising, by request, for Ohio State University Press

My manuscript project examines the substantial role the Rest Cure played in American and British literature and culture from the 1870s through the 1920s.  The use of enforced bed rest to treat nervous individuals throughout this period reflected back on the social body and pointed at something restless in the culture.  By forcing a strictly linear plot upon beleaguered and at times incomprehensible bodies -- supplementing rest with a daily regimen of overfeeding, massage, and electrotherapeutics -- rest cures were thought to restore equanimity to frazzled minds in equal proportion to the increases in fat and blood they produced.  The narrative life of this specific medical practice provides literary and cultural critics with a striking example of literature's sway over how medical history is perceived, especially when gender is a central concern.  Writings by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Elizabeth Robins, and Virginia Woolf structure the dissertation's examination of medical documents and numerous other literary and popular depictions of the rest cure.  These three pivotal feminists experienced the rest cure's influence on the body and sexuality, agency and creativity differently.  Their fictionalized responses to the rest cures they underwent not only illuminate the darkest corners of the female imagination under male authority, but also embed the rest cure within key texts in the development of literary and feminist modernism.

Fellowships, Grants, and Awards

  • Martin Merit Award, Hiram College 2009
  • Dissertation Fellowship, College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, 2003-2004
  • Helfand Resident Fellowship in the Medical Humanities, New York Academy of Medicine, Summer 2002
  • Helm Research Fellowship, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Spring 2002
  • Marta Feuchtwanger Merit Award and Dissertation Fellowship, 2001-2002
  • Francis Clark Wood Resident Research Fellowship, Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Summer 2000
  • Research Grant, Center for Feminist Research, University of Southern California, 2000
  • Ahmanson Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 1999-2000
  • Ahmanson Foundation Summer Research Grant, 1999


  • "Reading the Rest Cure," Arizona Quarterly 60.2 (2004): 51-85
  • Reference essays on "Anonymous Sex," "Cruising," and "Male Rape," in The Reader's Guide to Lesbian and Gay Studies, Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000

Papers and Lectures

  • Helfand Medical Humanities Lecture, "'The Sensorium in Splints': Some Permutations of the Rest Cure," New York Academy of Medicine, New York, 2002
  • Co-organizer MLA Special Session, "S. Weir Mitchell and Pain: Civil War to Rest Cure," New Orleans, 2001
  • "Seeing the Rest-Cured Body," MLA Special Session, New Orleans, 2001
  • "The 'Faint Figure' between Charlotte Perkins Gilman and S. Weir Mitchell," International Narrative Conference, Rice University, 2001
  • "Photographing the Rest Cure," Dickens Project Winter Conference, Davis, 2001
  • "Rest Cures: The Fictions and Culture of Regeneration," Dickens Universe, UC Santa Cruz, 2001
  • "The Rest Cure Comes to England," The Victorians Institute, U of South Carolina, 2000

Special Research Seminars and Workshops

  • "Narrative Competence as a Clinical Skill," Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D. and David Morris, Ph.D.
  • Stony Brook Manhattan, May 2003
  • "Sociability, Sexuality, and Community," UC Berkeley Summer Research Seminar: Professor Leo Bersani, 1999

Teaching Experience

Hiram College:

  • INTD 381 Obligations to Others, Fall 2009
  • FRCL: In Praise of Misfits, Freaks, and Derelicts, Fall 2009
  • BIMD 380: Facing Illness and Death
  • INTD 381: A Narrative Approach to Biomedical Humanities, Fall 2008
  • INTD 381: Perils of the Normal, Fall 2008
  • INTD 302: Narrative Bioethics, Fall 2008
  • INTD 381: Stories of Illness and Healing, Spring 2009
  • FSEM: In the Flesh: Stories and Theories of Embodiment, Spring 2009
  • BIMD: 282: Medical and Ethical Dilemmas in House, Spring 2009
  • INTD 281: Stories of the Self, Spring 2009

University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine:

  • Medical Humanities Elective, team-taught with Dr. Pam Schaff, Spring 2007 and 2008

General Education Honors Program (Thematic Option), USC, 1998-1999, 2000-01, 2002-03:

  • Interdisciplinary Seminar, spring 2005: Modern Anatomy: Reading Bodily Signs
  • Interdisciplinary Seminar, spring 2005: Mad Modernity / Postmodern Perversity
  • Interdisciplinary Colloquium, spring 2005: Medicine, Ethics, Narrative.
  • Writing Course and tutorials, fall 2004, linked to Western Literature Survey Course: "The Self in Society," Professor Sharon Lloyd (Philosophy)
  • Interdisciplinary Seminar, spring 2003: "Medicine's Narrative Life"
  • Writing Course and tutorials, fall 2002, linked to Western Literature Survey Course:
  • "The Passions," Professor Heather James (English)
  • Interdisciplinary Seminar, spring 2001: "War Remembered"
  • Writing Course and tutorials, fall 2000, linked to Western Literature Survey Course: "The Experience of Reading," Professor Peggy Kamuf (Comparative Literature)
  • Interdisciplinary Seminar, spring 1999: "Mad Modernity / Postmodern Perversity"
  • Writing Course and tutorials, fall 1998, linked to Western Literature Survey Course:
  • "Varieties of Love and Literary Form," Professor Joseph Boone (English)

The Writing Program, USC, 1997-1998:

  • Assistant Lecturer, Writing Across the Curriculum Program, linked to Sociology Course: Social Problems, 1998

Department of English, Georgetown University, spring 1996:

  • Teaching Assistant, "The History and Theories of Sexuality," Professor Amy Robinson

Teaching Interests

American and British Literature and Culture, 1865-1930; Realism and Naturalism;  Modernism; Genre Studies; Cultural Studies and Popular Culture; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Medical Humanities and Narrative Medicine

Other Professional Experience

  • Speaker Series: "Realisms," Assistant to Professors Hilary Schor and Peter Starr, 2000-2001
  • Graduate student instructor and seminar participant in the Dickens Universe, Santa Cruz, 2000 and 2001
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