Mark Clark, PhD

Mark Clark, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Clark received his doctoral degree, in English Literature, from Michigan State University, where he specialized in British Romanticism, Victorian Literature, and Literary Theory. His interest in the Medical Humanities began with his teaching interdisciplinary Science and Technology Studies courses to pre-med and science majors in Michigan State's Lyman Briggs program, and the interest deepened with the writing of an interdisciplinary dissertation entitled Depressive Fear and the Privation of Subjectivity: Coleridge Through Browning.  Certainly, Dr. Clark's interest was shaped, however, by a breadth of education and experience that has enabled him to reflect in the integrative fashion called for by studies in the Medical Humanities: he is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former naval officer who commanded two divisions of sailors and who (among other things) sailed his guided missile destroyer safely through a hurricane (in spite of the fact that the storm cracked the ship's superstructure); he is also a former Jesuit Scholastic who completed seven years of the religious order's formation. With a strong educational and experiential background in literature and literary theory, philosophy, theology, psychology, spirituality, science, leadership, and administration, Dr. Clark found himself drawn to a consideration of the ways in which the inquiries made by the humanities could intersect with and supplement medicine's understanding of illness, health, professionalism, and care. Attracted to the concepts of narrative medicine but recognizing the complexity of the skills called for in its practice to be such that it could not be addressed, effectively, solely at the level of graduate / medical school, Dr. Clark became convinced that the skills ought to be cultivated, first, by means of an integrative Medical Humanities program, at the undergraduate level; and he worked with his English department chair at Saint Louis University to develop an undergraduate certificate program in the Medical Humanities. In 2008, Dr. Clark presented a paper—entitled “Narrative Competence, Narratological Proficiency, and the Educational Goals of a Masters Program in Medical Humanities”—at IMH's conference, Graduate Education in Medical Humanities: Models and Methods,  and he found here a collegial, exciting, intellectual atmosphere that he regards, still, as nothing less than thrilling. In spite of a deeply satisfying connection he felt for his colleagues at Saint Louis University, he knew, when a position became available at IMH, that the opportunity was exceptionally good for his professional growth and focus of research. He is delighted to be pursuing his deepening interests in Narrative Medicine and Ethical Listening; Literature and Medicine; Narrative and Rhetorical Theory; Autobiography and Memoir in Health Care; Trauma, Resilience, and Recovery; the Dramatic Monologue (and its prosaic relatives) in Health Care Education; Spirituality, Health, and Suffering; British Romantic and Victorian Poetry; Psychoanalytic Theory; Hermeneutic Phenomenology; and the development of undergraduate programs in Medical Humanities, together with graduate degree programs that can educate professors to teach in and supervise the undergraduate programs. 
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