Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jessica's Undying Success

This Friday Jessica, of Read React Review, gave a paper on "The Undead in Bioethics and Vampire Fiction" to "an annual conference put on by the largest bioethics organization in the US." In her paper Jessica suggested that popular fiction is "fertile ground" for bioethicists. Indeed, popular fiction about vampires may be
the one place in our culture where people are reading and talking and thinking about death. About what it takes to be dead. About how we figure out who is dead. About whether there are nearly dead states that are enough like true death to count. About organ and tissue donation. Etc. [...] I used the image of Bella’s dream about being an old lover to an eternally 17 year old Edward to suggest that questions about what happily ever after means in the context of immortal love might be one way that women think about death.
I was delighted to learn that her paper was received extremely favourably:
The response from the audience was really terrific, and also from the editors of two journals in this subfield of bioethics, who approached me afterwards. I was especially gratified that one of them told me he agrees completely that we need to be working on popular fiction across the genres. A medical anthropologist asked me be an outside reader for one of her PhD students who is writing on vampire folklore and medicine, and a med school professor told me he now plans to begin his unit on death by discussing vampires. I couldn’t be more pleased with that response.
Jessica's post about her paper can be found at her blog.


  1. That's fantastic! I love it when people embrace ideas outside of their specific disciplines like that.

  2. A belated thank you, Laura, for letting your readers know about this presentation. Love the post title!