Case Western Reserve University's International Bioethics Education Program will go to the movies in Spain, May 9-24, to explore major bioethical issues in films like Alejandro Amenabar's The Sea Inside, the story of Ramán Sampedro's 30-year struggle to end his life.
Up to 20 people enrolled in the course will engage in discussions with Spanish film directors such as Juan Luis Buñuel (the son of legendary filmmaker Luis Bu ñuel and director of the 2007 documentary "Calandra: 40 Years Later," critics, professors and film students during the three-credit, two-week study abroad course, "Perspectives on Illness and the Art of Healing in Spanish Cinema."
The course explores such controversial issues as persistent vegetative states, comas, euthanasia and other mental and physical states.
"Films and novels bring something to the subject that a lecture and textbook can't," said Stuart Youngner, Susan E. Watson Professor and Chair of Bioethics at the CWRU School of Medicine.
The study trip combines CWRU's talents in bioethics and film. Youngner and Linda Ehrlich, associate professor of modern languages and literatures in the College of Arts and Sciences, will co-teach.
Ehrlich researches Asian and European film and has brought together some of Spain's leading film experts to participate in seminars during the two-week course.
Youngner, who is a self-proclaimed film buff, uses film as a way of explaining complicated bioethical issues in the lifelike scenarios seen on the big screen.
"Bioethics deals with dozens of issues," Youngner said. "One way to understand problems is through arts and literature."
Unlike other Bioethics' abroad experiences, this course is open to college-age students here and elsewhere, staff, adult learners, and faculty interested in learning more about issues of illness and healing.
Registration closes April 1, but new students will be accepted if openings remain available after the deadline.
The trip costs $2,500. This includes lodging and in-country transportation. Airfare and tuition are separate.
Ehrlich says, "Illness and Healing" will be taught in English.
The course should appeal to individuals with a wide range of interests from those in bioethics to others with a desire to learn more about film art in Spain to Spanish majors with an interest in the cultures of the Basque and Catalan regions, she added.
The experience begins with pre-trip readings, viewings and writings. What follows in Spain are a wealth of films and side trips to places like Girona to visit a unique early cinema museum and architectural tours of Barcelona's modernist architecture and its hospitals. The trip also includes free time to see some of the regular tourist stops.
Once in Spain, the group will spend May 9-12 at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and later at the University of the Basque Country in San Sebastián in the second week from May 16-21.
Barcelonan highlights are the reviews of Pedro Almodóvar's films by film critic and professor Carlos Losilla; Joaquim Jordá's 2006 film "Mas allá del espejo," about rehabilitation following a brain injury; a discussion with photojournalist Montse Armengou, who produced the investigative TV documentaries about recovering historical memories of the Spanish Civil War and viewing her 2002 "The Lost Children of Francoism"; and a look at film scholar (and former physician) Esteve Riambau's Orson Welles' unfinished film version of Don Quixote.
San Sebastian is a seaside city. One of the places toured will be a museum devoted to the work of Spanish sculptor, Eduardo Chillida.
Go online to learn more about the study abroad experience.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.