Ryan, Heifferon, and Fountain

Chapter 12 Afterword: Perspectives on RHM As/Is Past, Present, and Future

Cynthia Ryan, Barbara Heifferon, and T. Kenny Fountain

What is the most important takeaway from your chapter?

RHM, like other “polydisciplinary” (Segal) fields, is a work in-progress. RHM scholars turn to established theories and methodologies in existing fields, add new paths of inquiry in un- or under-examined contexts, and then formulate/reformulate ideas/techniques and tools, etc. I think it’s important for readers to grasp the messiness of this process, and also to embrace it as a necessary one for forging new ground and creating new meaning.

If you were making discussion questions for students (advanced undergrads or early grad students) to go along with your chapter, what would they be?

According to the authors, what are some of the “opportunities” provided by an RHM As/Is framework? What are the kinds of contexts examined by RHM scholars, and which questions do they ask? How are these questions explored methodologically? 

What ethical values permeate the work of RHM scholars? Do you think these values are appropriate in a contemporary health and medicine environment? How might these values be tested in a future, increasingly technology-driven health and medicine sphere?

What do the authors mean when they say that RHM scholars engage in a “dialectic” relationship whereby they seek “to deconstruct and reconstruct, to critique and create” (cite Afterword, p. #)? Why might it be important to make production of new or revised ideas and practices an important part of the critique process?   

What questions do you feel your chapter leaves unexamined, or where would you go with it next?

I agree with Barbara’s sentiment that a brief afterword seemed like the right way to go given the extensive introductions and responses to each section of the book. We might have offered “questions” to demonstrate how our take-aways might have been explored by scholars in RHM or by students who are coming to the field with fresh eyes.

Is there anything that you want those new to the field to know about RHM?

In my Writing and Medicine class, I talk to my students about the importance of “finding a home” in academia or whatever kind of industry they join. For me, that home was/is RHM. Our point about the dialectic nature of RHM is relevant to how each of us identifies the spaces in which we—our perspectives, ideas, values—fit, because it is through critiquing and creating the work and “realities” that surround us that we figure out where we belong. As we advance in our studies/degrees, one of the goals we all have it to carve out where we want to position ourselves in a complicated disciplinary terrain. In RHM, that carved-out space is a “polydisciplinary” one, making it incredibly rich and rewarding.

 

What is the most important takeaway from your chapter?

We needed to stress the importance of understanding the timeline of RHM. Because it is a fairly new discipline/field, it does have a timeline and a history. There has been a steady and exciting development of work since the mid-to-late 1990’s. The field has both broadened and deepened and this needed to be shown and is shown through this collection.

If you were making discussion questions for students (advanced undergraduates or early graduate students) to go along with your chapter, what would they be? 

  1. Why is it important to have an understanding of how a field has developed and is developing?
  2. What role does theory-making and –developing have as we investigate certain practices and language usages within RHM?
  3. Why do we need to understand how the concepts of dialectics and multiple perspectives play out in RHM?
  4. Can you think of what role multi-disciplinary research and theory-use plays in RHM and in other fields? What other disciplines are involved in our research? Name a number of theories you see used in this collection.

What questions do you feel your chapter leaves un-examined or where would you go with it next?

Because the introductions in this collection were so long, I felt it was important to have a short afterword. If that had not been the case, we could have explored our “take-aways” in much more depth and length.

Is there anything that you want those new to the field to know about RHM? 

This question made me chuckle. We need them to know everything!!

 

 

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