Mad Scientists, Narrative, and Social Power: A Collaborative Learning Activity
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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories “The Birthmark” (1843) and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (1844) encourage critical thinking about science and scientific research as forms of social power. In this collaborative activity, students work in small groups to discuss the ways in which these stories address questions of human experimentation, gender, manipulation of bodies, and the role of narrative in mediating perceptions about bodies. Students collectively adduce textual evidence from the stories to construct claims and present a mini-argument to the class, thereby strengthening their skills in communication and cooperative interpretation of ethical dilemmas. This exercise is adaptable to shorter and longer periods of instruction, and it is ideal for instructors who collaborate across areas of expertise.
- Hawthorne, Nathaniel. 1982 . “The Birthmark.” In Hawthorne: Tales and Sketches, edited by Roy Harvey Pearce, 764-80. New York: Literary Classics of the United States. Full online text: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/512/512-h/512-h.htm#birthmark
- -----. 1982 . “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” In Hawthorne: Tales and Sketches, edited by Roy Harvey earce, 975-1005. New York: Literary Classics of the United States. Full online text: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/512/512-h/512-h.htm#rappaccini
- Ishiguro, Kazuo. 2005. Never Let Me Go. New York: Knopf.
- Rappaccini’s Daughter. 2005. DVD. Directed by Dezso Magyar. Thousand Oaks, CA: Monterey Video.
- Shelley, Mary. 2012 . Frankenstein, 2nd ed., edited by J. Paul Hunter. New York: W.W. Norton.
- Mad Scientists, Narrative, and Social Power: A Collaborative Learning Activity
Journal of Medical Humanities
Volume 34, Issue 4 , pp 451-454
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- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
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- Science as power
- Human experimentation
- Body manipulation
- Critical thinking
- Collaborative learning
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of English and Comparative Literature, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 300 Pulteney Street, Geneva, NY, 14456, USA
- 2. Department of Religious Studies and Asian Studies, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 300 Pulteney Street, Geneva, NY, 14456, USA
- 3. Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris, 190 Avenue de France, 75013, Paris, France