Life as an Extreme Sport


It occurs to me that if I’m going to keep meeting politicians (and others) who want my business card, I should probably have a business card. The question, of course, is what to put on the cards. I’ve never had academic business cards before. Obviously I’m a doctoral student, so I’d list that and the institute, but I can’t really say philosophy and bioethics, since I’m not a bioethics doctoral student anywhere, and especially not at a place that doesn’t even have a bioethics program. But that’s the thing people tend to want to talk to me about (see: meeting politicians), and er…

…it occurs to me that there are people in my life I could just ask about this.

I just really didn’t see a high demand for me needing business cards; that, combined with the literal headache figuring out what to put on said cards gives me largely explains why I’ve not thought about it much til now. But it’s gotten to the point where I think I’m starting to shoot myself in the foot, connections and networking wise, so it’s probably time to make it happen.


  1. I think you can somehow indicate your work in bioethics and philosophy.

    It’s all about marketing, IMO. Most scholars I’ve read are in general agreement that bioethics is a derivative or second-order discipline (yes, there are signs this is beginning to change, but I still think the characterization accurately describes bioethics practice today, and certainly describes bioethics practice of the past). If this is so, then I think it’s fair to characterize yourself as a student of philosophy and bioethics (or law and bioethics, or bioethics and the medical humanities, etc.)

    My marketing problem is even more difficult: who, after all, really knows what the medical humanities are, or what a medical humanist does? Heck, I’ve spent the past 18 months trying to figure it out for myself (and there is still much disagreement among medical humanists themselves).

    Are you a philosophy student? Yes. Do you have a background in bioethics? Yes. Do you have a current interest in bioethics? Yes. Is it your main area of interest, and will your dissertation likely reflect that interest? Yes and yes (but obviously, correct me if I am mistaken).

    I think it’s reasonable to say something like Ph.D Student in Philosophy (Concentration in Bioethics), or something like that. I tell people I’m studying ethics and the medical humanities. Actually, IMH began requiring its students to have majors and minors in the program for precisely these marketing reasons. No?

    As a side note, if at any point you get irritated by my apparent current status as Kelly’s Comment Troll, just let me know.

  2. Hehe, that’s okay – I don’t mind the commentary. (I understand, though – I got a comment a bit ago about someone being displeased that I was the primary commentator in another blog, and have ceased commenting there completely because of it.) Although it looks quiet around here, I actually get a surprising (to me) amount of comments, either through people emailing me directly, talking to me in various messaging services, or leaving comments on the RSS feeds.

    The business card thing would be relatively simple if I wasn’t at two institutions – it’s the dual institutions thing that’s really shooting me in the foot. Well, that and the SUNY system appears to be kind of cranky in how you list departments out.

  3. I think business cards are great. I distribute them and collect them, but mostly for FOSEP purposes. The way I deal with it is to put the UW logo on one side with my program, department and school name and the FOSEP logo on the other side with my title and its web site. I put my name, cell and email centered at the top.

    I would guess that most of the folks you give cards to are interested in your bioethics credentials, so any way you can ID that will be helpful. In the end though, a business card is only useful if the recipient connects it with his or her interaction with you. It is contact information not necessarily credentialling (sp?).

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