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Mara Buchbinder
Thursday, October 20, 2022



Please register by Monday, October 10th.

In care for people with terminal illness and severe disabilities, the most impressive achievements of modern medical science meet our deepest human concerns about how to handle suffering, what happens when we die, and what it means to live a good life. Cases that cannot be cured pose special ethical and philosophical questions: Should we strive to minimize suffering, even by acting to shorten life? Is there value in lives afflicted by great and irremediable pain? What role should religion play in personal decisions, patient care, and public policy? And how should we all live in light of our common vulnerability to suffering, disability, and death?

Join us for an evening of conversation with medical anthropologist Mara Buchbinder (UNC-Chapel Hill) and theologian John Swinton (University of Aberdeen) as we explore the meaning of mortality.

About the Speakers

John Swinton is Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen. He is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland who for more than a decade worked as a registered nurse specializing in psychiatry and learning disabilities. He also serves as an honorary professor and researcher at Aberdeen’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Nursing. He writes on the relationship between spirituality and health and the theology of disability. His books include Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefullness, and Gentle Discipleship; Dementia: Living in the Memories of God; and Raging With Compassion: Theological Responses to the Problem of Evil.



Mara BuchbinderMara Buchbinder is Professor and Vice Chair of Social Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at UNC–Chapel Hill, as well as core faculty in the UNC Center for Bioethics. She is a medical anthropologist with broad interests in cultures of health, illness, and medicine in the United States. Her latest book, Scripting Death: Stories of Assisted Dying in America, chronicles two years of ethnographic research documenting the implementation of Vermont’s Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act. Dr. Buchbinder is also the author of Saving Babies? The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening (with Stefan Timmermans) and All in Your Head: Making Sense of Pediatric Pain.


What to Expect at Triangle Roundtable

Triangle area faculty are invited to join colleagues—and special guests—from schools around the Triangle region of North Carolina for a Faculty Roundtable on Science and Religion. The night includes dinner, presentations from featured speakers, and small group discussion on Thursday, October 20, at 6:30pm.

The evening will include a moderated discussion featuring Mara Buchbinder, Professor of Social Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at UNC–Chapel Hill, and John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen.

Triangle Roundtable is hosted by the Center for Christianity and Scholarship, InterVarsity Faculty Ministries at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, InterVarsity Black Scholars and Professionals (BSAP), and the North Carolina Study Center. It is made possible by the John Templeton Foundation.

Faculty roundtables have taken place since 2005 and have engaged thousands of professors at major universities, including Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Brown. Roundtables are dedicated to fostering dialogue that explores the intersection of scientific and religious thought on an array of topics. Triangle Roundtable began in 2020 and hosts one roundtable each semester, serving faculty at universities and colleges in the Triangle region of North Carolina.

We hope you will join us for this conversation!