Queen's University

Visiting professorship to promote comparative study of bioethics

[Christine Overall serving as a visiting professor at Kwansei Gakuin University]Philosophy professor Christine Overall will teach two courses at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan this semester.

Philosophy professor and Queen’s University Research Chair Christine Overall will introduce Canadian perspectives on bioethical issues at a Japanese university over the next five months.

“In my courses, I will discuss topics such as reproductive ethics and end-of-life issues using Canadian material and invite students to make comparisons to the views in Japan,” says Dr. Overall, who will serve as the visiting professor of Canadian Studies at Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya until the end of January.

Dr. Overall will teach an undergraduate course focusing on bioethics in Canada and will lead a graduate course entitled Death and Philosophy, a pertinent topic given Japan’s aging population and the fact the country has the highest life expectancy rate in the world.

“I anticipate learning a great deal from talking to Japanese students and scholars and encountering different views about reproductive issues as well as issues related to death, dying and longevity,” she says.

Dr. Overall is looking forward to developing as a teacher during her time in Japan. She says that since her students will be working in their second language, she may have to adjust her teaching style to meet their needs.

She will also host a public seminar entitled “Human Rights in Canada and Japan: The Case of Reproductive Rights and Equality.” She has invited Dr. Jennifer Parks, a Queen’s alumna and currently an associate professor at Loyola University, to speak and provide the American perspective.

Dr. Overall has had a long-standing interest in the country. As a graduate student, she studied Zen Buddhism and learned karate. Over the last six months, she has been studying Japanese to prepare for her time abroad.

Kwansei Gakuin University and Queen’s have a long-standing history of academic exchange and cooperation, dating to the signing of a memorandum of understanding and student exchange agreement in 1990. Dr. Overall is one of several Queen’s professors who have been awarded the visiting professorship in Canadian Studies at Kwansei Gakuin. Her predecessors include: former Principal Dr. Ronald Watts, who was born in Japan; Professor Jonathan Rose (Political Studies); Professor Laura Murray (English); and Professor Emeritus William James (Religious Studies).

For Japanese students interested in attending Queen’s on exchange, Dr. Overall will provide insights into Canadian academic life and the country’s broader culture.

To learn more about the exchange agreements Queen’s has with approximately 150 institutions in 45 different countries, visit the university’s international webpage.

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Last updated at 3:57 pm EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
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