Andrea Charise (BASc, MA, PhD; she/her) is Assistant Professor appointed to English and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health & Society (ICHS; formerly Health Studies) at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Dr. Charise joins UTSC from the University of Iowa where she was Postdoctoral Fellow-in-Residence at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.
In addition to receiving recognition for her teaching and scholarship in literature (including the 2014 John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature), Dr. Charise has almost twenty years of work experience as a medical researcher (clinical epidemiology, geriatrics). Her award-winning research is published in a wide range of peer-reviewed venues including Health Expectations, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Academic Medicine, Journal of Medical Humanities, Essays in Romanticism, Victorian Studies, Age, Culture, Humanities: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and English Literary History (ELH).
Her first book, The Aesthetics of Senescence: Aging, Population, and the Nineteenth-Century British Novel was published by SUNY Press in January 2020 (hardcover; paperback by University of Regina Press). Her study investigates of the impact of the 19th-century “invention” of population on broader cultural conceptualizations of older age—not only in the historical context of the nineteenth century, but in our own aging-averse moment as well. She is editor, along with Paul Crawford and Brian Brown, of the Routledge Companion to Health Humanities (450 pages, March 2020).
Her teaching and research focus on Health Humanities and humanistic approaches to health studies; English literature, especially the novel and nineteenth-century British writing (the field in which she earned her PhD); old age and age studies; literature and medicine; critical theory; metaphorics; narrative training for health professionals; digital humanities; and interdisciplinarity. Dr. Charise also holds faculty appointments in the University of Toronto’s Graduate Department of English and the Collaborative Graduate Program in Women’s Health at the Women’s College Research Institute. As of April 1, 2017, she is cross-appointed to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine.
She is the Principal Investigator of SCOPE: The Health Humanities Learning Lab, an arts- and humanities-based research and education initiative. SCOPE’s interdisciplinary team and research projects engage the skills traditionally associated with humanities disciplines—including close reading, oral and written communication, visual literacy, and narrative analysis—as a vital complement to conventional disciplinary approaches to health knowledge, research, and learning. She is the founding program supervisor of Canada’s first undergraduate program in Health Humanities; in April 2016 she was named “Professor of the Year” (Arts, Literature, and Language) by the UTSC student journal, The Underground, and in June 2019 she received one of three campus-wide UTSC Teaching Awards at the Assistant Professor level. In Spring 2020 she received the University of Toronto’s Early Career Teaching Award, which recognizes faculty members who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement, and teaching innovation.
Dr. Charise’s scholarship has been supported by the Connaught Foundation, The Jackman Humanities Institute, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). She is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature (2014), CIHR’s AgePlus Prize (2008) and the International Conference on Romanticism‘s Lore Metzger Prize (2011).
She speaks regularly at conferences in both the humanities and health sciences, in addition to serving on the International Health Humanities Network (IHHN)’s International Advisory Board. She is one of four founding Executive Committee members of the Modern Languages Association (MLA)’s brand new Forum on “Medical Humanities and Health Studies,” and is an Associate Researcher on Concordia University’s Aging+Communications+Technologies (ACT) Project (a seven-year, $2.99 million SSHRC Partnership Grant).
Dr. Charise welcomes inquiries from students and colleagues interested in the interdisciplinary conceptualization of health and illness, especially arts- and humanities-based methods, theory, and creative practices (e.g., literature, film, visual arts). She can be found online at www.andreacharise.com or on Twitter as @AndreaCharise.