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  • Announcement of Incoming Executive Editor, Catherine Belling
  • Rita Charon

I have the honor to announce that the next Executive Editor of Literature and Medicine is Catherine Belling.

Catherine Belling is on the faculty of the Program in Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. She came to the United States from South Africa on a Fulbright grant to complete her Ph.D. in English at the State University at Stony Brook, New York. As we can tell from the title of her doctoral dissertation, "Acts of Flesh and Blood: Anatomy and Physiology in English Renaissance Drama," Professor Belling has from her start as a scholar been on the track of embodied plots and means that living matter has to tell of itself.

She learned of the pedagogy of literature and medicine at Stony Brook when, while still in graduate school, she was appointed course director for the required first-year Medicine in Contemporary Society course. Upon finishing her degree, she was named Associate Director of the Institute for Medicine in Contemporary Society at Stony Brook.

In 2007, Professor Belling accepted an appointment in the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program at Northwestern University in Chicago. Joining Kathryn Montgomery, Tod Chambers, and others, she continued her triple life as scholar, teacher, and academic visionary—teaching medical students, helping to design and teach in the new Master of Arts program in Medical Humanities, and focusing on research concerning medicine, interpretation, and anxiety. Her recent publications include "The living dead: fiction, horror, and bioethics," "Overwhelming the medium: fiction and the trauma of pandemic influenza in 1918," and "The purchase of fruitfulness: assisted conception and reproductive disability in a seventeenth-century comedy." [End Page xvi]

Catherine Belling has become well known among scholars, clinicians, and in the popular culture for her astute and canny interpretations of cultural representations of such complex states as terror, anxiety, and hypochondria. Her recent book, published by Oxford University Press in 2012, A Condition of Doubt: The Meanings of Hypochondria, probes the most fundamental questions about uncertainty not only as it pertains to health and illness but as it saturates our daily lives. She has been on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, the Editorial Boards of Literature and Medicine, The Journal of Medical Humanities, and the Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database.

We welcome Catherine to the post of Executive Editor of this journal and look forward to her fresh initiatives in interpreting the signs abroad of illness, health, certainty, doubt, and the common predicaments of us mortals. [End Page xvii]



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