How do we constitute and understand the self when conversations in the clinic are mediated by layers of data of various kinds? What is the manner in which subjective experience can gain meaning in the face of an “objective” stream of data that objectifies and distances the patient from the attending health care professional? What communicates and how, in such a context? What sorts of vocabularies and understandings do individuals need to garner in order to communicate a sense of self—the deeply felt and possibly data resistant experiences—that must be read in alignment with this data layer? The talk will examine these questions, informed by a set of in-depth interviews with participants who reflect on the process of abstraction-by-data and their clinical experiences.
Usha Raman is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad, India. Before entering academa in 2010, she worked as a freelance journalist and health communicator for over three decades, publishing on topics related to health, technology and women’s issues in a range of mainstream newspapers and magazines. She writes a column for one of India’s largest dailies, The Hindu, and edits a monthly magazine for school teachers, Teacher Plus. Usha received her doctorate in mass communication from the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA, in 1996. Her research interests include cultural studies of science, health communication, feminist media studies, and the social and cultural impact of digital media. At the University, she offers courses on basic and advanced writing, digital media and cyberculture, and health communication. She has also worked on a range of consulting projects on health promotion and behaviour change communication for the Indian Institute of Public Health (Hyderabad), UNICEF (India) and The George Institute for Global Health (India). While at MIT, she will be looking at curriculum development and delivery in digital media studies, apart from doing a series of interviews for an ongoing project on interdisciplinarity.