Projects on Medicine & Popular Culture in the Research Group Schicktanz



2016: Innovative Teaching Project: "Otherness in Doctor-Patient-Relationship: Seminar with Film Analysis"

Contact:
Dr. Solveig Lena Hansen shansen(at)gwdg.de
Dr. Sabine Wöhlke swoehlk(at)gwdg.de
Funding: University Medical Center Göttingen
Duration: 2016

Historical and ethical aspects of otherness in medicine/medical treatment can be explored via the medium of film. Otherness emerges, for example, in everyday confrontations of actors when they are confronted with diseases which deviate from what is perceived as "normal". At the same time, the cinematic confrontation with previously unestablished technologies involves the examination of medical possibilities that were considered science fiction at the time of the film's release, but are actually implemented today. Finally, the medium of film provides access to the history of medicine, addressing inclusions and exclusions in health care as well as medical malpractice. By transforming reality and emphasizing emotionality, it sensitizes us to the moral perspective of the other, in which medical actors are embedded.

The aim of the seminar was to work with medical students on the topic of the other in film and its relevance to historical questions of medical ethics. The students learned how to analyze a fictional ethical conflict and its historical dimension.

The challenging task we set for our film didactics was to translate the filmic statement –which only emerges beyond the projection on the screen in the viewer’s mind – and the corresponding moral intuition regarding the received message into an argument.


since 2015: Film Series II: "Ethics' Anatomy" (Continuation)
A Film Series initiated by the Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine in cooperation with the University Medical Center Göttingen and the cinema Lumière

Contact:
Dr. Solveig Lena Hansen shansen(at)gwdg.de
Dr. phil. Sabine Wöhlke swoehlk(at)gwdg.de
Funding: University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG)
Duration: since 2015

Cooperation partner: cinema Lumière

Project website (German)

‘Anatomy' is what we call the structure of the human body. Even if only few medical techniques directly intervene in this anatomy, all of them concern the human body. The field of bioethics deals with the evaluation of interventions into the body and their consequences. In doing so, it focuses on various standards that are often difficult to reconcile: individual self-determination, but also professional ethics of physicians and social opportunities and risks. Here, bioethical conflicts about how to deal with the human body also have their own 'moral anatomy' in that the pros and cons of an intervention are carefully weighed up. However, these interventions are not discussed exclusively in science, but also in the family, in self-help groups and in the media.

The film series “Ethics' Anatomy” deals with these different forms of discussion and the "moral anatomy" of biotechnologies. The feature films and documentaries shown offer a point of entry into the discussion of bioethical questions that ultimately concern us all. They are intended to open up bioethics to a social dialogue involving citizens, affected persons and patients.

The film series is a continuation of the film series “Complex Conflicts - Bioethics in Film and Public Discourse”, which was carried out in 2012/2013 and awarded the Prize of the University of Göttingen Foundation Board (“Preis des Stiftungsrates der Universität Göttingen”) in 2013.

For both series, the films chosen for discussion were ones with topics not only of concern to theoretical science, but such that specifically relate to the people's everyday lives.

You can find the flyer for the series "Ethic's Anatomy"  here (in German, PDF)

Wöhlke, S.; Wolff, E. (2016): Real Humans –Echte Menschen? Ein interdisziplinäres Gespräch über Roboter, Pflege und Film. Mabuse, 224, 41, S. 34-38

Hansen, S.L.; Wöhlke, S. (2016): Contrasting Medical Technology with Deprivation and Social Vulnerability. Lessons for the Ethical Debate on Cloning and Organ Transplantation through the Film Never Let Me Go (2010). Nanoethics 10, 3, 245–256.

Wöhlke, S., Hansen, S.L., Schicktanz, S.: Themenheft der Zeitschrift Ethik in der Medizin (1/2015): Bioethik im Film. Potentiale, Methoden, Anwendungsfelder. This issue includes:

Solveig Lena Hansen; Sabine Wöhlke (2014): Movies, ready for an ethical debate? Die Göttinger Filmreihe “Komplexe Konflikte” als Diskurs über medizinethische Themen. In: Soziale Technik, 1, S. 5-7.


2012 – 2013: Film Series I: "Complex Conflicts – Bioethics in Film and Public Discourse"
A Film Series initiated by the Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine in cooperation with the cinema Lumière

Contact:
Dr. Solveig Lena Hansen shansen(at)gwdg.de
Dr. phil. Sabine Wöhlke swoehlk(at)gwdg.de
Duration: 2012–2013

Cooperation partner: cinema Lumière

The negotiation of bioethical issues in feature films allows us to explore the - often ambivalent - impact of biotechnologies on our everyday lives. Even if some stories are regarded as 'unrealistic', the exaggeration of real moral, social and legal questions can serve a critical reflection of technological and medical progress. Especially since the central issues of such films always touch on real conflicts, such as self-determination and social control, personal identity, or medical ethos and misuse of research. When watching those movies, we can ask the following questions:

  • What is a good doctor-patient-relationship?
  • Do patients imake informed and voluntary decisions?
  • What is the role of identity, the family or gender in medical decisions?
  • Are there universal ethical standards in the field of medicine, or should cultural and historical contexts be considered as well?
  • (How) do research and therapy make use of patients and their bodies?
  • What role does medicine as research and therapy play for social and societal conceptions of the human being and its possibilities for improvement?
  • Whose interests are (not) considered in ethical and legal decisions in the field of medicine?

The selected feature films dealt with topics such as reproductive medicine, organ transplantation and euthanasia as well as disability and old age. They did not only concern theoretical questions, but always referred to the concrete reality of everyday life.

The film series Complex Conflicts aimed to discuss bioethical topics specifically with the interested public. For this purpose, team members of the Department of Ethics and History of Medicine have selected films that address current topics and controversies.

Each screening was accompanied by an academic program, which ranged from introductory lectures before the film to expert talks and panel discussions after the film.

You can find the flyer for the series "Complex Conflicts – Bioethics in Film and Public Discourse"  here (in German, PDF)

Wöhlke, S.; Wolff, E. (2016): Real Humans –Echte Menschen? Ein interdisziplinäres Gespräch über Roboter, Pflege und Film. Mabuse, 224, 41, S. 34-38

Hansen, S.L.; Wöhlke, S. (2016): Contrasting Medical Technology with Deprivation and Social Vulnerability. Lessons for the Ethical Debate on Cloning and Organ Transplantation through the Film Never Let Me Go (2010). Nanoethics 10, 3, 245–256.

Wöhlke, S., Hansen, S.L., Schicktanz, S.: Themenheft der Zeitschrift Ethik in der Medizin (1/2015): Bioethik im Film. Potentiale, Methoden, Anwendungsfelder. This issue includes:

Solveig Lena Hansen; Sabine Wöhlke (2014): Movies, ready for an ethical debate? Die Göttinger Filmreihe “Komplexe Konflikte” als Diskurs über medizinethische Themen. In: Soziale Technik, 1, S. 5-7.


2010 - 2016: PhD Thesis: "Alterity as a Cultural Challenge to Cloning. A Reconstruction of Bioethical and Literary Negotiations"

 

Contact:
Dr. Solveig Hansen shansen(at)gwdg.de
Funded by: German Research Foundation (DFG) Graduiertenkolleg Dynamiken von Raum und Geschlecht