Jane F. Thrailkill, 2021–22

The Agony of Empathy: A Health Humanities Intervention

John E. Sawyer Fellowship; William C. and Ida Friday Fellowship, 2021-22

Bank of America Honors Distinguished Term Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thrailkill, Jane F.

Jane F. Thrailkill is Bank of America Honors Term Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Specializing in American literature and health humanities, she publishes widely on the connections among literary study, the sciences, medicine, and philosophy. Her books are Affecting Fictions: Mind, Body, and Emotion in American Literature Realism (Harvard University Press, 2007) and Philosophical Siblings: Varieties of Playful Experience in Alice, William, and Henry James (University of Pennsylvania Press 2021). Her article "Who Counts? Old Age in Covid Times" was published in American Literature; a special issue on the coronavirus pandemic in the fall of 2020.

Thrailkill is currently at work on an interdisciplinary monograph entitled The Agony of Empathy: A Health Humanities Intervention, examining the commodification of affect in twenty-first-century medical training. Through HHIVE Lab, which she cofounded in 2015 with Dr. Jordynn Jack (NHC Fellow, 2020–21), she collaborates with colleagues in the health sciences on interprofessional education projects. Since 2016 she has taught in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as part of an innovative humanities curriculum designed by Dr. Amy Weil. She has received recognition for her teaching, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Governor’s Award.

Selected Publications

Philosophical Siblings

  • Thrailkill, Jane F. Philosophical Siblings: Varieties of Playful Experience in the Writings of Alice, Henry, and William James. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021. Forthcoming.
  • Thrailkill, Jane F. “Keyword Empathy.” In Health Humanities Keywords, edited by Priscilla Wald, Jonathan Metzl, and Sari Altshuler. New York: New York University Press, 2021. Forthcoming.
  • Thrailkill, Jane F. “Fables of Extinction: Geologist Edward Hitchcock and the Literary Response to Darwin.” In Amherst in the World, edited by Martha Saxon, 217-233. Amherst, MA: Amherst College, 2020.
  • Thrailkill, Jane F. “Who Counts? Old Age in Covid Times.” American Literature 92, no. 4 COVID-19 Forum: Pandemic Reading (2020): 745–57.
  • Thrailkill, Jane F. Affecting Fictions: Mind, Body, and Emotion in American Literary Realism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.
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