CFP: 2018 Annual PG Conference, ‘Human Bodies, Antibodies and Other Bodies’, Durham

Date: 24th April 2018

Location: University of Durham

Durham University Anthropology Department invites postgraduate students in all sub-disciplines of anthropology and related fields to the upcoming PG conference: Human Bodies, Antibodies and Other Bodies. It will take place at Durham University, Tues 24th April 2018, and is free to attend.

Throughout its history, anthropology has engaged with the study of biological and social bodies. Biological bodies were quantified, qualified and described, while social bodies are discussed in ways that challenge naturalized ideas about oppression and power, race, sex, gender and in the end humanity itself. Bodies in anthropology and its sister disciplines have been studied as subjects and objects, meaningful and material, individual and social, and all at the same time.

This conference seeks to explore “the body/bodies”, broadly conceived, from all sub- disciplines of anthropology and related disciplines, in all of their various approaches and conceptualizations. To fulfil the aims above, we welcome proposals on human and non-human bodies, living and non-living bodies, and their interactions including proposals that emerge from biological, medical and social anthropology. Some of the themes to consider are:

  • Biological bodies – biological anthropology of bodies, human/animal interaction, animal and/or human bodies and behaviours
  • Medical bodies – health, reproduction/fertility, genetics, biomedicine, suffering/dying, dead bodies, health and illness
  • Bodies in society – education, gender /sexuality, citizenship, spirituality/faith/religion, power, governance, art/fashion/aesthetics
  • Bodies in science and technology
  • Moving bodies – migrations, bodies in nature, bodies in conflict, commodified bodies, sports, performing arts
  • Digital bodies
  • Other bodies (broadly conceived)

Paper and poster proposals should include:

  • author name(s), affiliation(s) and contact email
  • paper title
  • a paper abstract (200 words max)
  • and short bio (200 words max).

Please clearly indicate whether you submitting a paper or poster proposal.

Please submit your proposals no later than 31st January 2018 by email.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 15th February 2018.

Registration opening dates will be announced in due course. Places are limited. Updates will be announced on the Facebook page and the website.

For any enquiries please contact the conference organisers indicating a specific issue or topic in the e-mail subject line.

Workshops: ‘“Going to the Dogs”? The intersections of Disability and Animal Studies’, Leeds

Date: 2-5pm, Monday 19th February 2018

Location: Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities, School of English, 6–10 Cavendish Road, Leeds

Responding to recent scholarship that has placed disability and animal studies in critical dialogue (see, for instance, Sunaura Taylor’s new book and the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies recent call for papers), this workshop will bring together three Leeds-based scholars, who will each approach the intersection of disability and animal studies from a different disciplinary and methodological perspective. The session will feature Karen Sayer, who is a Professor of Social and Cultural History at Leeds Trinity University; Sunny Harrison, who is a PhD candidate in the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds; and Leah Burch, who is a PhD candidate in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. Respectively, their talks will cover the following topics:

  • Models of utility, disability, and occupational health in later medieval horse medicine.
  • The conceptualisation of disabled human labourers relative to conceptualisations of farm animals in nineteenth-century agriculture.
  • Instances of disability being animalised in contemporary hate speech.

Each talk will be followed by time for questions, and the workshop will end with a roundtable discussion about the ethical and methodological challenges of working on themes of disability and animals together. Tea and coffee will be provided.

If you have any questions or would like to book a place at the workshop in February—for FREE — please email the organiser, Dr Ryan Sweet, including details of anything that can be done to ensure that the event is accessible for you. Ryan’s email address is

CFP: Multi-Volume Series, ‘New Perspectives in Deaf History’

Deaf history, in its most distilled form, is the study of deaf people and their experiences in the past. There is an intrinsic value in the research, study, and writing of deaf history. Social critic James Baldwin alludes to that value when he observed that “history is literally present in all that we do.” The rapid racial, social, economic, political, and technological changes in the U.S. compels us to explore how these changes affect deaf people’s lives. They also compel us to ground our exploration in history.

The corpus of work in the field of Deaf History continues to grow. As with historical studies of other communities, a historiographical assessment of the field reveals gaps in coverage of temporal periods, diversity within the population, class, and geographical reach.

This call for papers is for a multi-volume series in Deaf History, with one volume focusing on the histories of deaf people outside the United States and at least one focusing on U.S. histories.  The editors welcome essays on deaf history from a wide range of subfields and disciplines from U.S. deaf histories, transnational histories, the Global South, and other geographical locations. Essays should be historically focused but can originate from related field such as deaf studies, film studies, art history, literature, anthropology, politics, and sociology. Topics that tie issues of race, class, and gender to deaf history are especially of interest.  This includes the histories of deaf people of color, deaf disabled people, and deaf blind people. Topics that focus on mid to late 20th century deaf histories including the Deaf President Now movement are especially encouraged. This book series is under review at a university press. Accepted proposals will be assigned to an appropriate volume and publication date will vary according to volume order of publication.

Interested individuals are encouraged to submit a brief proposal of approximately 500 words explaining the topic, thesis, and major sources to be used in the article. A three line author biography should be included with the proposal.

Proposal deadline: 1st March 2018

Please submit proposals to the editors:

Notifications of acceptance of proposals will be made by 1st April 2018 and contingent on publisher’s acceptance of book proposal.

Accepted chapters should be between 5,000-8000 words and citations will be in the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.

Scoping Event: major health collections in Glasgow City Archives

Call for Expressions of Interest

Glasgow Life in conjunction with the Medical Humanities Research Centre and the College of Arts in the University of Glasgow invite expressions of interest from researchers who may wish to work with the internationally significant medical history and humanities collections held in the Glasgow City Archives, Mitchell Library. The following major collections were catalogued with Wellcome Trust funding, and are eligible for Wellcome’s Research Bursary Scheme (funding up to £25k, see, other Wellcome schemes, and those of other funders.

Glasgow Public Health Records
Glasgow has an unenviable reputation in respect of the health chances of its citizens. Ill health and disease within Glasgow was entrenched during the first half of the nineteenth century as a result of large-scale migration. The scale of the problems and the work by Glasgow’s pioneering Medical Officers of Health and its Sanitary Officers, form a major part of the collections.

(1) Department Of Public Health records, including annual reports of the Medical Officer of Health and Sanitary Inspector, 1863-1985; reports on Glasgow housing conditions, 1911-1923; housing photographs, c1902-1944; returns of infectious diseases, 1920-1973; Port Local Authority files, 1901-1969; papers of Medical Officers of Health, 1892-c1959; publications by staff of the Public Health Department, 1897-1974.

(2) Police Commissioners. Prior to the establishment of the Public Health Department in 1895, the Commissioners were responsible for all aspects of public health. Their records date back to 1800 and include: minutes of Nuisances, Sanitary and Health Committees, 1856-1910; minutes of Hospitals Committees, 1867-1914; minutes of the Port Local Authority, 1903-1910.

(3) Annexed Burghs. The 13 burghs which surrounded Glasgow were gradually absorbed as the city expanded. As independent burghs of varying duration, they had public health functions. They include: Gorbals (1700-1900); Govan (1853-1912); Govanhill (1876-1891); Hillhead (1867-1891); Maryhill (1856-1891); Partick (1852-1912); Pollokshaws (1813-1912).

(4) Scottish Women’s Hospital. During WW1 UK female physicians developed, staffed, and led their own voluntary organisations serving honourably and often under direct fire, on the Western Front. Of these, the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service (SWH) represented the largest medical endeavour completely directed by British women doctors. The SWH made a crucial contribution to the delivery of medical care during the First World War, sending out 14 medical units to serve in France, Serbia, Salonika, Russia, Romania, Corsica and Malta.

A scoping event is planned for 2-4pm, Wednesday 14th February 2018 in the Mitchell Library. City Archives staff will introduce the collections, display illustrative materials, and facilitate the development of related research projects. A key, but not exclusive objective, will be to assist in bids to the Wellcome’s Research Bursary Scheme for scoping projects, with a first round deadline in 2018 of 2 April 2018.

If you are interested, please contact Dr Irene O’Brien (irene.o’ by 31st January 2018 with your contact details, affiliation and level and stating which collections and particular materials you are interested in, your initial research idea, as well as any particular schemes and funders. The event is open to academic researchers of postgraduate level and above.

Write the Future! Competition Winner

As part of the Being Human Festival 2017 Dr Hannah Tweed and Dr Anna McFarlane held a creative writing workshop, ‘Write the Future!’, to encourage young writers to think about science fiction, medicine, and disability. Those who participated were invited to submit their stories in a writing competition, and it gives us great pleasure to share the winning entry, ‘To the Bone’ by Jamie Graham. Jamie is a student at the University of Glasgow and his story considers some possible problems with the commodification of bodily implants.

We’d like to thank creative writers Elaine Gallagher and Russell Jones for leading the workshop and allowing our young writers to benefit from their experiences; thanks to our writers for their contribution to this fascinating event; and thank you to Jamie for his story, and for allowing us to publish it here.

To the Bone

By Jamie Graham

Let me ask you this question: before you laugh at me, I’m not spouting any kind of rhetoric when I say that I seriously want to know. Have you ever felt something in your bones?

They’re a sensitive lot, which is hard to believe when you watch our games. Most of the time though we do pull together, and we always pull through. It’s just sobering to me that most of the lads at the rugby club wouldn’t have a clue about what I’ve just asked.

On Friday, we made a breakthrough. A national championship! The first one under our belts in months! We had some injuries of course: players on both sides went over their ankles, but that’s not a problem. It’s not like the ankle vendors are shutting anytime soon. Besides, it’s the end of the season!

However, that still didn’t excuse the lads their shoddy performance. Credit where it’s due, right, they did listen to me about coordination, but they weren’t running nearly enough with the ball (when they got it that is!). The criticism stung a little, but luckily for them I had neither the time nor the lower body strength to give them a demonstration. I know I’m a fine one to talk. I know what the fans mean when they ask how I can possibly be expected to coach a line up when I should be coaching myself to walk upright. Honestly though, I’ve had worse said to my face during my tenure and I don’t chastise them for questioning. I’ve loved this club since I was a boy. Trust me, it’ll take more than a few weeks of scepticism to put me off. I wasn’t always this feeble after all, but time rubs off on us all.

That’s why most of the lads got them Slipskins. Y’know, as part of that Omni-joint malarkey? If the team knows me for anything, they know me best for my slagging of ‘the extra arsehole’. I am joking, but the second someone unzips their leg or arm in the locker rooms, I just about boak. I was reluctant to get them on my own legs at first, but you get used to it after a while. I admit, it’d be nice to have a set of bones to go along with it, but hey, we can’t have everything. At least I’ve got somewhere extra safe to keep my keys! The Hospital claims these omni-joints make people safer; as far as I’m concerned folk are clumsier than they were, and they take their bodies for granted much more often, so I don’t trust that so much.

Thomas, our team rep, caught up to me before I headed off. He was one of the few who knew where I was going that afternoon, and before I left he passed me something: a business card for some fella … I can’t recall his name … who he said could help me out. Thomas was always big into the old Omni-joint. He’d spent a lot of money getting both him and his wife matching knuckles for their anniversary. Engraved and everything. Surely that can’t be healthy?

At least that was my Doctor’s mindset. A stern one, that bloke. I guess you’d have to be if you choose of your own volition to work behind one of the Hospital’s clinically sterilised counters every day of your life. My problem is the calf bone, you see. They haven’t been broken or anything, they were stolen a few months back. Some lowlife grabbed me in the street, dragged me around a corner and…next minute I was on the ground with no bones to hold me up. It was an hour before anybody thought to come down the lane. I get by. They gave me some drugs a while back to convince my lower half it’s still around, otherwise the pain’d be unbearable. The Doctor shoved a big catalogue my way. Apparently, the synthetic stuff is now really damn durable and very cheap. Call me sentimental, I’ve got attached to the concept of a real bone somewhere in my body, but there’s lots of complex DNA donation stuff to get through if you want something exactly as it was. As much as they like you to believe, kindness ain’t cheap these days.

It was a long time before I got in the door. It always is when the lift is bunged up and I’m too tired to wheel my seat. I heaved my chair over the bump in the door and flailed my coat on the hangar. After it fell off a good few times I left it on the ground, and out fell Tom’s card from one of my pockets.

The fella was kind enough to meet with me. Amiable enough, but he did go a little overboard on the life story. I checked his credentials and he seems to be the real McCoy. We both aren’t keen on the Hospital, he certainly made that clear. Him and a bunch of pals walked out on them. They weren’t teaching them enough apparently. All the same, he promised he’d get me an Omni-joint at a reduced rate, claiming that it was the least he could do to help people get the real help they need. I tried emphasising there was only one thing I wanted, a human-ish Omni-joint that I could keep for sport. I wouldn’t have to walk or run, just keep it for special occasions. He told me I should do some market research.

Before the club’s weekly session, I wheeled my way through the medical district. I was aware how popular the Omni-joint was, but not that it was a fashion statement! There’s all sorts, some even I’d say were practical. Omni-joints that don’t crack or get stiff. Some with built in electric heaters! There were some cheap synthetic mock-ups knocking about for those looking to recycle old bottles and things. I saw proud parents signing their children up for prescriptions. I heard once that some woman in America spent thousands getting her Mother’s whole skeleton reconstructed in Omni-joints. She wears it in memorial. I passed a guy shouting in the street about being boneless: don’t ask. There are plenty novelties. Who’d want what is essentially a leg bone to double up as a dog chew toy? Or a funny bone that laughs when you poke it? What happened to bones that were just there for show? Apparently, I was a bit of an oddity. The unaltered skeletal structure is pricey, especially when there’s little left of it in most to begin with.

The training session helped me lighten up. It certainly did Tom. He’d been complaining most of the day about his hands aching. We laughed and told him it was growing pains. We laughed and told him to stop being an old man. We didn’t laugh the week after.

Skeletal Shredding, it was. A registered disorder now apparently. Something in the Omni-joint. A rancid chemical laced in the marrow. The body realises that the Omni-joint isn’t real, is an intrusion, and tries to get rid of it quickly. The body’s solution? To break it down and try pushing through the skin. Yeah, Slipskins were real useful then. Tom was screaming too much for us to touch them. I don’t blame the fella I spoke to, or any of his friends for all this. I cancelled my appointment.

CFP extended: ‘Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities’, Kent

Date: 1st-4th July 2018

Location: University of Kent

Deadline: 5th January 2018

Building on the conferences associated with the network Cognitive Futures in the Humanities in Bangor (2013), Durham (2014), Oxford (2015), Helsinki (2016) and Stony Brook (2017), the 2018 conference aims once again to bring together a wide array of papers from the cognitive sciences, philosophy, literary studies, linguistics, cultural studies, critical theory, film, performance, theatre and dance studies, the visual and sonic arts, musicology and beyond. In accordance with the original purpose of the network, the aims of the conference are:

  • to evolve new knowledge and practices for the analysis of culture and cultural objects, through engagement with the cognitive sciences;
  • to assess how concepts from the cognitive sciences can in turn be approached using the analytical tools of humanities enquiry (historical, theoretical, contextual);
  • to contest the nature/culture opposition whose legacy can be identified with the traditional and ongoing segregation of scientific and aesthetic knowledge.

The call for papers is now open. Topics relevant to the conference include (but are not limited to):

  • Cognitive neuroscience and the arts
  • Interdisciplinary methodologies
  • Cognitive poetics
  • Theory of mind
  • Conceptual blending
  • Cognition and narrative
  • Spectatorship and participation
  • Empirical aesthetics
  • The 4 Es
  • The science of creativity
  • The social mind
  • Material culture

Please send 250-word proposals by email to the conveners by 5th January 2018. As well as 20-minute papers, we welcome contributions in a variety of formats, for example workshops, performance presentations, and posters. Abstracts should be included as Word file attachments. Please indicate clearly in your email whether your abstract is to be considered for a paper or as part of a panel, including the name of presenter(s), institutional affiliation(s) and email address(es). Proposers can expect to hear if their abstract has been accepted by 01 February 2018, and registration will open soon afterwards.

Keynote Speakers at the conference have been confirmed as Maaike Bleeker(Utrecht University), Margrethe Bruun Vaage (University of Kent), Eric Clarke(Oxford University) and Amy Cook (Stony Brook University).  Further information will be available on the conference website.

Organising committee: Shaun May, Nicola Shaughnessy, Melissa Trimingham, Freya Vass-Rhee.

CFP: North West Interdisciplinary Medical Humanities Postgraduate Workshop, Lancaster

Date: 19th April 2018

Location: Lancaster University

Deadline: 1st February 2018

In 2018 Lancaster University History department will be hosting a one-day postgraduate workshop that focuses on the value of alternative methodologies and interdisciplinarity in the medical humanities. The event is organized by Erin Bramwell and Natalie Mullen, who are both PhD candidates in the department. Erin and Natalie work in the medical humanities, and through the ESRC’s Interdisciplinary Event Fund, are seeking to bring together researchers in numerous disciplines to share the ways in which they approach critical questions and problems within the field.

The workshop seeks to connect researchers in a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, history, politics, law, sociology, English literature and language, linguistics, medicine, computer science, and psychology. The workshop is also intended to serve as a ‘launch event’ for a longer term network of PGRs working in medical humanities within the North West. Although primarily catering for North West based PGRs, ECRs and participants from other institutions are also welcome.

Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • Interdisciplinary research methodologies
  • Medical spaces and landscapes
  • Medicine and literature
  • Medicines as emotional and material objects
  • Medicine and the senses
  • Policy and healthcare
  • Photography
  • Linguistic and corpus-based approaches

The keynote address will be given by Dr James Stark (University of Leeds).

To apply, send an abstract of 250 words for a 20 minute paper and a short biographical statement to by 1st February 2018. A limited number of postgraduate travel bursaries are available; please state if you wish to be considered when you submit your abstract.

More information can be found on Twitter and on the network blog.

Lecture: Gavin Francis, ‘The Anatomy of Curiosity – a personal tour of Edinburgh University’s anatomical collections’, Glasgow

Date: 6-8.30pm, Thursday 18th January 2018

Location: Kelvin Lecture Theatre, 1445 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AW

The Anatomy of Curiosity – a personal tour of Edinburgh University’s anatomical collections

The Anatomical Collections of Edinburgh University are immense and varied, gathered over more than five centuries. They vary from anthropological specimens from the colonial era, to early-modern curiosities such as human horns alongside narwhal horns. There are roomfuls of animal specimens, collected in an attempt to conjure order from the commotion of life. There’s the skull of George Buchanan and the skeleton of William Burke. Gavin Francis isn’t a curator, but a doctor and writer who has found inspiration in the collection. His illustrated lecture will be a personal journey around some of the highlights of the collection.

Gavin Francis practices medicine in Edinburgh and is the author of three books True North, Travels in Arctic Europe (2008, 2010), Empire Antarctica, Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins(2012) which was Scottish Book of the Year 2013 and shortlisted for the Costa, Ondaatje, Banff, & Saltire Prizes, and Adventures in Human Being (2015), which won Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2015, was the Observer’s Science Book of the Year, and was a winner in the BMA Book Awards. His fourth book Shapeshifters: A journey through the changing human body will be published in 2018.

More on Gavin’s writings (including further essays) and work can be found on his website.

All welcome! If you are interested in attending this lecture, please reserve your free ticket via the Eventbrite page.

CFP: Special Issue of RDS, ‘Disability and Shame’

The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS) seeks proposals for a special forum “Disability and Shame.” The deadline for submission of papers is 1st January 2018.

Special Issue | Volume 14 Issue 4, RDS: Disability and Shame.

Shame and shaming take varied and quite diversely motivated forms. Shame exists as both a cultural and psychological construct, stimuli for and reactions to which are heavily context-dependent. This Call for Papers proposes a forum on the subject of shame and disability, broadly conceived. It is hoped that through critical discourse addressing the historical and current contexts, contributing factors, effects, and responses to shame, greater understanding of this phenomena will diminish discrimination and violence.

Guest Editors:

Papers should be submitted online at We look forward to receiving your submissions.
If you have any questions regarding the forum, please contact, or For other technical questions contact

For more information visit the RDS Journal website.

PhD Scholarships: ‘Writing Disabled Lives in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, Swansea

Deadline: 22nd January 2018

Start date: 1st October 2018

See the website for full details

Project details:

During the nineteenth century there were a series of developments that helped to shape ‘disability’ in its modern form. The administrative categorisation of the ‘defective’ poor in workhouses served to identify physical incapacity as a distinctive cause of poverty requiring particular responses, whereas the valorisation of ‘normal’ ranges of human size, strength and intelligence in eugenic thought marked out as deviant and inferior those who failed to meet these standards. Industrialisation, and subsequent struggles over reform (such as campaigns to limit child labour or restrict the length of the working day), promoted an abstract idea of the worker, whose capacities and needs were assumed to be the same as others.

Such developments have begun to attract attention, but considerably less is known about how people with impairments made sense of their experiences within evolving concepts of ‘disability’ and ‘able-bodiedness’. The aim of this PhD studentship is to explore ways in which contemporaries narrated physical difference using a variety of biographical and autobiographical writings. The nineteenth century is significant for a proliferation of texts that explored the lives of people with disabilities. Some, such as the autobiographical writings of Harriet Martineau or John Kitto, are relatively well-known, but many others such as James Wilson’s Biography of the Blind (1820) – arguably the first work of ‘disability history’ – have received very little attention from historians or literary scholars. Accounts of illness and disability abound in working class autobiographies, while pauper letters weave these themes into compelling narratives of need. Life histories of freak show performers, ‘eccentric’ biographies, newspaper obituaries, and new forms of investigative reporting characteristic of the ‘new journalism’ all shed light on experiences of physical and intellectual difference.  Such texts employed a variety of rhetorical strategies for capturing the experiences of ‘disabled’ women and men, yet have not yet been researched systematically from a disability perspective.

The recipient of this PhD studentship will have the opportunity to determine the scope and direction of their research within the broad parameters of the project. Their work will examine how disability is constructed within particular cultural contexts and how these relate to social, religious and medical frameworks for understanding physical difference. Their work will examine critically how narratives of disability are shaped by – and in turn shape – gender, class and racial identities. As part of their project, the PhD student will work with the interdisciplinary supervisory team to develop a programme of public engagement exploring life writing as a tool for promoting health and wellbeing, while also raising awareness of experiences of disability in modern Wales. This may include producing a public engagement blog that uses historical evidence to engage in dialogue with disabled people’s experiences in the present, and other public-facing activities. The supervisors, who won a Research and Innovation Award in 2016 for their work on the exhibition ‘From Pithead to Sickbed and Beyond: the Buried History of Disability in the Coal Industry before the NHS’, will bring their experience in leading disability projects to provide mentoring for the recipient of the studentship to build a public profile for their work and develop its impact potential. The project falls under the auspices of CREW, Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales, and the cross-campus Research Group for Health, History and Culture (RGHHC), which will provide supportive research clusters.  Since its founding in 2010, members of RGHHC have secured grants totalling £1.5 million for individual or collaborative projects. Swansea University is an internationally renowned centre of excellence in disability history. Recent funded projects include ‘Disability and Industrial Society 1780-1880’ (Wellcome Trust) and an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Scholarship on ‘Correcting Vision in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ (with the Science Museum).

Supervisors / Academic Contacts: Professor David Turner and Professor Kirsti Bohata