Metagnosis: Revelatory Narratives of Health and Identity

How does medical diagnosis pertain to identity and embodiment? Danielle Spencer coins the term “metagnosis” to describe revelations of longstanding medical conditions. These experiences create the opportunity to newly examine the relationship between illness/impairment and experiences of embodiment/dis-embodiment, and its relationship to personal identity.
Metagnosis identifies and names the phenomenon of learning in adulthood of a longstanding condition. It can occur when the condition has remained undetected (e.g. colorblindness) and/or when the diagnostic categories themselves have shifted (e.g. ADHD). Though this phenomenon has received relatively scant attention, learning of an unknown condition is often a significant and bewildering revelation, one that subverts narrative expectations and customary categories. How do we understand these revelations? Spencer approaches narrative medicine as a robust research methodology comprising interdisciplinarity, narrative attentiveness, and the creation of writerly texts. She proposes that better understanding metagnosis will not simply aid those directly affected, but will serve as a bellwether for how we will all navigate advancing biomedical and genomic knowledge, and how we may fruitfully interrogate the very notion of identity.


Cycle of seminars: “(Dis)Embodiment in Religion and Ethics

Speaker: Danielle Spencer

The seminar will be held in English.

Registration is required by october 08 2023 at 12.00am.


  • Danielle Spencer è autrice di Metagnosis: Revelatory Narratives of Health and Identity (Oxford University Press, 2021) e coautrice di The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (OUP, 2017), vincitore del premio Perkins-Prize. Membro della Faculty del Narrative Medicine Graduate Program della Columbia University, i suoi lavori accademici e creativi appaiono in diverse pubblicazioni, da The Lancet a Ploughshares. Già direttore artistico dell'artista e musicista David Byrne, Spencer ha conseguito una laurea presso l'Università di Yale, un master in medicina narrativa presso la Columbia University e un dottorato di ricerca presso l'Università Johannes Gutenberg di Magonza, e ha ottenuto borse di studio presso MacDowell e Yaddo.


Registration to this event is mandatory.

Registration closed on 08/10/2023.



Privacy Notice

Pursuant to art. 13 of EU Regulation No. 2016/679 – General Data Protection Regulation and as detailed in the Privacy Policy for FBK event’s participants, we inform you that the event may be recorded and disclosed on the FBK institutional channels. In order not to be filmed or recorded, you can always disable the webcam and/or mute the microphone during virtual events or inform the FBK staff who organize the public event beforehand.
WordPress Cookie Notice by Real Cookie Banner