Donley Symposium

Image: Mahan House

Literature, Medicine, and Memory: A Symposium in Memory of Dr. Carol Donley

September 29-30, 2023
Dr. Carol Cram Donley

Literature and the body are sites of memory; they operate both as archives and assemblers. In this two-day symposium, we will consider narrativized and embodied memory as we commemorate and honor the field-shaping work of Dr. Carol Cram Donley (1937-2023), Professor Emerita of English and inaugural Andrews Professor of Biomedical Humanities at Hiram College. Together with Dr. Martin Kohn, Dr. Donley founded the Center for Literature and Medicine in 1990, and contributed to the formation of Hiram’s Biomedical Humanities major—the first of its kind in the United States. Dr. Donley was the author, with Alan J. Friedman, of Einstein as Myth and Muse (Cambridge UP, 1989), and served as co-editor of a number of titles with the Kent State University Press Literature and Medicine series: Literature and Aging: An Anthology (1992), The Tyranny of the Normal: An Anthology (1996), What’s Normal? Narratives of Mental & Emotional Disorders (2000), and Recognitions: Doctors and Their Stories (2002). Thanks to Dr. Donley and Dr. Kohn’s visionary and creative collaboration, The Center for Literature and Medicine was a recipient of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities’ Cornerstone Award, which “recognizes outstanding, enduring contribution(s) by an institution that has deeply enriched and/or helped shape the direction of the fields of bioethics and/or the health humanities.”

In tribute to, and in continuation of, Carol Donley’s legacy of interdisciplinary collaboration and warm collegiality, we invite scholars and students of medical/health humanities and bioethics; health care practitioners; medical and health professions students; and artists and writers invested in issues of embodiment, health, illness, aging, and disability to join us for two days of rich conversation and conviviality on Hiram’s scenic rural campus. The program includes talks and workshops by field leaders, a performance, community meals, and a closing open mic session where all participants are invited to share their own creative or critical medical humanities work. Together, we will remember the origins—and imagine the futures—of the interdisciplinary study and creative practice of literature and medicine.

Event Information

Ana Deforest


Anna DeForest, MD, MFA

Anna DeForest, MD, MFA, neurologist and palliative care physician, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; author of A History of Present Illness: A Novel (Little, Brown, and Company, 2022)

Featured Speakers

Jay Baruch, MD, Author and Professor of Emergency Medicine, Brown University

Catherine Belling, PhD, Associate Professor of Medical Education, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Jeanne Bryner, RN, Nurse and poet

Travis Chi Wing Lau, PhD, Assistant Professor of English, Kenyon College

Amy Haddad, PhD, MSN, MFA, FAAN, Poet and Professor Emerita, Creighton University

Shirlene Obuobi, MD, Writer, artist, and cardiology fellow, The University of Chicago Medical Center

Brandy Schillace, PhD, Author, historian, editor of BMJ’s Medical Humanities journal

Kesha Morant Williams, PhD, Professor of Humanities and Communication Arts; Senior Advisor for College Diversity, Equity and Belonging, Elizabethtown College