CFP: ‘Ailing Empires: Medicine, Science, and Imperialism’, Edinburgh

Date: 31st May 2019

Location: University of Edinburgh

Deadline for Proposals: 8th February 2019

Ailing Empires: Medicine, Science, and Imperialism: Interdisciplinary Symposium

Keynote speaker: Dr Samiksha Sehrawat (Newcastle)

Twitter: @AEconference

2018 has begun as a period of renewed public and academic debate over the history and legacies of colonialism. Among their many faults, detached inquiries regarding the supposed benefits of colonial endeavours, however, miss the significance of everyday experiences of empire as expressed in a range of historical, literary, and visual evidence.

‘Ailing Empires’ is a one-day symposium that seeks to explore the extent to which narratives of health, medicine and science are inextricably bound with experiences of empire and colonialism throughout the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries. Through focus on a range of colonial contexts, textualities and sources, this symposium hopes to address questions such as: How did different colonial empires instrumentalise medicine and science? What role did healthcare and/or science play within the respective colonial project? Is ‘medical imperialism’ a useful term across different colonial contexts? In what way(s) did exchanges between Western and non-Western medical knowledge function as contact zones? How can scholarship engage with legacies of colonial medicine in the postcolonial age?

In order to explore these questions, we invite papers and presentations from a variety of disciplinary and comparative perspectives from across the humanities, and particularly encourage submissions from postgraduate and early-career researchers.

The following is an indicative, but by no means exhaustive, selection of the kinds of issues we would like to address:

  • Medical imperialism
  • Postcolonial legacies
  • Control and resistance
  • Medical encounters and knowledge exchange
  • Medicine and ecology
  • Mental health
  • The doctor-patient encounter
  • Missionaries and nurses
  • Sex and gender
  • Class and access/restriction
  • Infrastructures
  • Literary and visual representations
  • Medicine and travel writing
  • Authority and authorship
  • Drugs and healing practices
  • Hygiene, disease, and public health
  • Health reform and policies

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words detailing your topic, along with a brief bio, to by 8th February 2019. We invite the ‘traditional’ 20-minute paper, as well as alternative formats of presentation.


CFP: ‘(No)Bodies on the Irish Stage: “Deviant” Physicalities’, NUI Galway

Date: 12th – 13th April 2019

Location: O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, National University of Ireland, Galway

Deadline: 5pm, Friday 14th December 2018


  • Dr Emilie Pine, Associate Professor in Modern Drama, University College Dublin
  • Dr Bernadette Sweeney, Associate Professor of Theatre, University of Montana

‘(No)Bodies on the Irish Stage: “Deviant” Physicalities’ is a two-day symposium that will bring together academics, theatre practitioners and artists to discuss physicality in performance, particularly investigating covert and concealed corporealities in twentieth century and contemporary Irish drama and practice. The title of the symposium queries the “ableist” ideology that categorises bodies as normal or abnormal and suggests a re-appropriation of the term “deviance” as a celebration of physical diversity. The symposium seeks to challenge the conformity of the bodies that we see on the Irish stage which tend not to “deviate” from a normative cultural script. Thus, these bodies can be read as both mimetic and diegetic sites of endemic societal power imbalances which do not reflect the diversity of Ireland’s demographical zeitgeist.  

From the ancient practice of physiognomy, to contemporary debates on plastic surgery and theories of bodily memory, there is an enduring artistic fascination with corporeal semiotics. The physically disabled, impaired or “deviant” body has been central to this. Despite the prolific use of disability as a literary tool in Irish drama, there are few examples in Ireland, and indeed internationally, of theatres sourcing actors with disabilities to play these roles, or of ability-blind casting practices. In the 2011 Census, 595,355 people in Ireland identified as having a disability, equivalent to 13% of the country’s population. At least 1 in 10 adults between 15 and 64 years have a disability whilst 38% of adults over 65 years recorded having a disability.  Yet this has not been reflected on the Irish stage. Instead, the conventions of “cripping up”, or “cripdrag”, industry terms describing the practice of an able-bodied actor playing a disabled character, are customary. By “cripping up,” an actor demonstrates his/her performative virtuosity, rather than committing to accurate representations of reality. The result is the potential degradation of the disabled body, a stylized performance evoking vaudevillian conventions; performance thus engenders belief in stereotype. This has serious implications regarding preconceptions about normalcy and corporeal perfection; the implication is that disability is performative and that physical impairment is not inherent but “deviant.”

In her seminal book on Performing the Body in Irish Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), Bernadette Sweeney suggests that “[t]he body is […] responding to and existing within a culturally specific set of parameters which are subject to change” and “economic and political circumstances, education, gender and sexuality—these and other considerations shape our projections of and on the body within Irish culture and beyond.” In considering how power imbalances and ableist ideologies are corporealised in Irish theatre, it is vital to discuss the representation of race and ethnicity. According to the 2016 census, the population of the State grew at 0.8 per cent per annum while those with Irish ethnicity increased by just 0.2 per cent. The fastest growing ethnic group since 2011 was “other including mixed background”, with an annualised growth of 14.7 per cent.[1]  The 2016 Census indicates that the 535,475 non-Irish nationals living in Ireland originate from 200 different nations. Overall, there are 12 nationalities with more than 10,000 residents living here in Ireland from America, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Latvia, Romania, and Spain, in addition to Poland, Lithuania and the UK.[2] This conference will bring together leading scholars and practitioners to access and evaluate how cultural/ethnical diversity and interculturalism is being reflected on the Irish stage, particularly examining bodies which have been denied representation.

There is an increased focus on corporeality in contemporary Ireland and it seems all the more pertinent to discuss bodily representation in Irish culture. The momentum of the Repeal the 8th Movement generated debates on bodily legitimacy and ownership whilst the booming health, beauty and fitness industries promote conflicting ideals of corporeal perfection as the physical ideal—unattainable beauty standards still glamorise skeletal physiques whilst fitness industries are championing the fit, intact and unblemished body as emulative models. How have Irish playwrights and theatre makers responded to this cult of beauty and youth? Moreover, how has this affected casting practices? The “Waking the Feminists” campaign demonstrates a demand in Irish society for an increased visibility of the marginalised on the Irish stage, with calls for inclusiveness and greater representation of female writers and theatre-makers, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, “deviant” or non-conformist physicalities, and minority ethnic groups.

Relating to twentieth century and contemporary Irish theatre and practice, proposals for papers and practice-based presentations may wish to consider the drama, theatre and performance of:

  • Gendered and non-gendered bodies
  • Disability and performance
  • Race and ethnicity
  • The male gaze
  • Nudity in performance
  • Idealised physical standards for actors and physical transformations required for roles
  • The body and illness/trauma
  • The body in performance art
  • Bodily memory, prosthesis, phenomenology, and theories of the posthuman.
  • The hidden/fragmented body.
  • The abject or grotesque body
  • The body in pain

Please email proposals of no more than 250 words along with a short bio (100 words) to Dr Emma Creedon at by 5pm Friday 14th December 2018.

The conference is generously funded by the Irish Research Council and the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, National University Galway.



Registration Open: ‘Building alliances: Mental Health Activism and the Academy’, London

Date: 1pm-5pm, 12th October 2018

Location: Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Building alliances: Mental health activism and the academy

There is a mental health and social welfare crisis in the UK. Disability and service user-led groups are leading campaigns to raise awareness of and challenge government cuts and policy “reform”.

The question arises: how can academics in sociology, social work, psychology, psychosocial studies, and other disciplines support these ongoing activities?

The aim of this event is to facilitate building bridges between activists and academics (and people who are both).

It will open with statements from members of the user-led group Recovery in the Bin and the BSA Mental Health Study Group.

This will be followed by small group discussions on how we can strengthen campaigning alliances to improve the state of mental health care and develop theory to support our actions.

The event will conclude with summaries and plans for what to do next.

Please come along if you want to get involved in planning how to campaign for better mental health and social care in the UK.

This event marks the relaunch of the BSA Sociology of Mental Health study group.

CFP: ‘Disability and Disciplines: The International Conference on Educational, Cultural, and Disability Studies’, Liverpool Hope

Location: Centre for Culture and Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University

Date: 3rd – 4th July 2019

Deadline for abstracts: 1st February 2019

Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof Tanya Titchkosky, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Dr Laurence Clark, Independent, UK

Interdisciplinarity is increasingly recognised as pivotal in the academy, as reflected in the work of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS), whose major collaborations include the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, the book series Literary Disability Studies, and the multi-volume project A Cultural History of Disability. Although far from straightforward in practice, the premise of the CCDS is that interdisciplinarity leads to curricular reform that itself leads to changes in social attitudes. Growing appreciation of disability studies across the fields and disciplines ultimately contributes to the erosion of ableism and disablism in culture and society, from which there grows both space and opportunity for non-normative achievements and aspirations.

The organisers of the 5th biennial CCDS conference welcome proposals from academics, students, and other interested parties for papers that explore the benefits of interdisciplinarity between Disability Studies and subjects such as Aesthetics, Art, Business Studies, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, Education Studies, Film Studies, Genre Studies, History, Holocaust Studies, International Studies, Literary Studies, Literacy Studies, Management Studies, Media Studies, Medical Humanities, Museum Studies, Philosophy, Professional Studies, Special Educational Needs, Technology, and Women’s Studies. This list is meant to be suggestive rather than exhaustive.

Paper proposals of 150-200 words should be sent to on or before 1st February 2019.

Paper presentations are allocated 20 minute slots and themed panels of 3 papers are encouraged.

The organisers are indebted to previous keynote speakers Julie Allan, Len Barton, Peter Beresford, Fiona Kumari Campbell, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Dan Goodley, Robert McRuer, David T. Mitchell, Stuart Murray, Katherine Runswick-Cole, and Sharon L. Snyder, whose presentations have led this project and in some cases are now freely available on the CCDS YouTube channel.

CFP: ‘Working together: collaboration beyond the academy in research in dementia and culture’, London

Location:Institute of Modern Languages Research, Senate House, London
Date: Friday 23rd November 2018
Deadline for abstracts: 30th September 2018
Working together: collaboration beyond the academy in research in dementia and culture. A Dementia and Cultural Narrative Network event.

Organisers: Dr Sarah Falcus (University of Huddersfield) and Dr Raquel Medina (Aston University)

Those working in the broad area of dementia and cultural narrative are very likely to cross disciplinary boundaries and engage with the research challenges and opportunities such boundary crossing involves. For Humanities scholars, this may mean moving beyond the academy to work with healthcare professionals, dementia support organisations, families and carers, and people with dementia. From large international collaborative projects to small-scale local partnerships, academics and non-academics are working together in the area of dementia and cultural narrative to advance research that has real-world impact. This one-day event aims to showcase and discuss this research, with the aim of sharing best practice.

We welcome academics, healthcare professionals, service users and others to contribute to this event.

Keynote speaker: Dr Andrea Capstick, Senior Lecturer in Dementia Studies, University of Bradford

We do welcome traditional 15-minute papers, but we are particularly interested in proposals for alternative formats such as workshops, round tables and activity-based sessions. Length for these can be negotiated. We also welcome posters. Do contact the event organisers if you would like to discuss an alternative format.

Areas that may be addressed include, but are not limited to:
  • Putting people with dementia at the heart of research;
  • Working with families and carers;
  • Methodological unfamiliarity: challenges and opportunities;
  • Innovative ideas emerging from collaborative projects;
  • Empirical research and the humanities;
  • Negotiating institutional barriers and opportunities;
  • Working across countries and cultures;
  • Questions of ethics.
Please feel free to propose other topics.
Please send 300-word abstracts along with a biographical note to by 30th September 2018.

Dementia and Culture Narrative Network:

CFP: ‘Subjectivity, Self-Narratives and the History of Emotions Masterclass’, Sussex

Date: 16th – 18th January 2019

Location: Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex

Deadline: 27th July 2018

Subjectivity, Self-Narratives and the History of Emotions Masterclass:
A British Academy Rising Stars Engagement Event

Where many History of Emotions studies have focused on norms and discourses, this event asks how we can explore how thoughts and feelings could be articulated, expressed and repressed through what is understood as individual subjectivities. This approach is crucial if we are to understand why people act in certain ways and thus how historical change occurs. In short, it focuses on exploring subjective experience and emotional practices: the way in which emotions are performed and produced by a historically-situated body. This British Academy Rising Stars Engagement Event comprises of a two-day masterclass, which links up Early Career Researchers with leaders in the field, and a one-day international symposium. The event will focus on knowledge sharing and network creation to build future collaborations.
Applications are invited from Early Career Researchers for approximately 15 participants for a two-day masterclass (16th – 17th January 2019) led by leaders in the field of the History of Emotions and historical subjectivities. There will be four workshop sessions over the first two days, each led by a mentor, including:

  • Lyndal Roper (Oxford)
  • Thomas Dixon (QMUL)
  • Claire Langhamer (Sussex)
  • Penny Summerfield (Manchester)

This workshop provides a unique opportunity for participants to closely engage with experts in the field, and to work in a methodologically rigorous way with different approaches to emotions and subjectivities. At the core of the masterclass will be a focus on close engagement with participants’ work and discussion of creative methodologies, as well as a development of cross-period perspectives (from early modern to modern).

The masterclass will then be followed by a one-day international symposium on 18th January 2019, which will promote engagement on an international scale and include keynote speakers such as William Reddy, Ute Frevert, Tim Hitchcock as well as keynotes from the masterclass convenors, Lyndal Roper, Thomas Dixon, Claire Langhamer and Penny Summerfield, and which masterclass participants will be expected to attend.

Participants will be asked to bring a primary source in which emotions and/or subjectivities can be explored to the masterclass, and to pre-circulate amongst other participants and mentors a short piece of writing outlining their research project(s) and the methodological questions and approaches that they are engaged with relating to emotions and subjectivities (approx. 1000 words). This will allow for ideas and approaches to be shared and productively discussed. A reader with relevant texts for each session will be circulated in the months prior to the masterclass. Through these sessions, we aim to cultivate a network on emotions and subjectivities and enable participants and mentors continue to work with each other after the event.


Applicants are requested to submit a CV, short bio (200 words max), and explanation of motivation (500 words max). In the explanation of motivation please indicate the relevance of your research to the themes of the event, outline what questions you would like to work through in the masterclass and how your research might benefit from participating. Please also give a brief description of the possible primary source you would bring to the masterclass and its thematic relevance.
Applications should be sent to the following email address:

The deadline for completed applications is 27 July 2018. Please email Emilia the Event Co-ordinator at the email below if you have any queries regarding the event or application.

Financial Assistance

A contribution towards travel and accommodation expenses will be provided. Food and refreshments will be provided throughout the two-day masterclass and one-day symposium.

Conference Organiser
Dr Laura Kounine:

Event Co-ordinator
Emilia Halton-Hernandez:

For more information, please see:

CFP: ‘Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers Conference’, Dublin

Date: Friday 12th October 2018

Location: Humanities Institute, University College Dublin, Dublin

Deadline: Friday 27th July 2018

Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers: Expanding the Borders of Dysfluency Studies 

Keynote speaker: Chris Eagle, Emory University, Centre for the Study of Human Health (Dysfluencies: On Speech Disorders in Modern Literature, 2014; Talking Normal: Literature, Speech Disorders, and Disability, ed. 2013)

The conference will explore the embodied experience and cultural construction of stammering from the collaborative perspectives of literary/cultural analysis, speech therapy and neurological research. The aim of the conference is to develop an interface between literary, cultural and clinical practice in the area of speech ‘disorders’, generating new forms of communication and exchange across these fields.

Despite the centrality of literary/cultural studies to the emergence of Dysfluency Studies (Marc Shell, Stutter 2005; Chris Eagle, Dysfluencies 2014), the 2017 Oxford Dysfluency Conference had no humanities-based papers. This conference addresses this imbalance, bringing cultural analysis into genuine exchange with scientific and therapeutic practice, and necessarily negotiating the tension between a medically-inflected model of ‘recovery’ and an emergent challenge to cultural constructions of ‘normal’ speech. Dysfluency is explored less as a ‘disorder’ to be treated, than a form of communication that highlights the intricate relationship between speaking and being heard, vocal agency and cultural reception.

Literary culture has provided a rich and complex store of information about how stammering has been represented and interpreted at different historical junctures, within diverse cultural contexts and in relation to the variables of gender, class and ethnicity. The stammer has also been harnessed as a metaphor for how literary language works, how it operates at the limits of its expressive resources, occupying a territory that circles the paradoxical power of the ineffable. Recent work in the humanities, however, has signalled the need to balance such metaphorical readings with a sense of the corporeal experience of dysfluency, what Jay Dolmage has called ‘the embodied struggle for expression’ (Disability Rhetoric 2014). This renewed focus on embodiment invites diverse, interdisciplinary approaches that serve to accentuate the embodied experience of stammering in its neurological, therapeutic and cultural forms.

Proposals are welcomed for twenty-minute papers in (but not limited to) the following areas:

  • Normative Speech and Varieties of Expression: cultural constructions of ‘normal’ speech and the representation of ‘counter voices’ of dysfluency.
  • Rethinking ‘Recovery’: innovations in therapeutic practice (e.g., Narrative Therapy, Non-Avoidance Therapy, Covert/Interiorised Stammering Therapy).
  • Mapping the Brain: neurological perspectives, auditory feedback, and ‘circuits’ of communication.
  • Gender and Dysfluency: gendered experience and its reception/representation.

Guide for submissions:

All submissions should include name and email address, a 250-word abstract, a short biography (with academic/professional affiliation, if applicable). Proposals for individual papers or panels of 3 papers are welcomed. Panels that include presenters with a range of affiliations, career experiences and disciplinary homes are encouraged.

All proposals should be submitted as Word document.

Extended deadline for submissions: Friday 27 July 2018.

Organiser: Dr Maria Stuart, School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing, UCD.

For submission of proposals and general enquiries, please contact:

This conference is generously supported by the Humanities Institute, UCD College of Arts and Humanities, and UCD Seed Funding Scheme.

CFP: ‘Curating Health: Graphic Medicine and Visual Representations of Illness’, Stockholm

Location: Stockholm University

Date: Mon 3rd – Tues 4th December 2018

The Nordic Network for Gender, Body, Health, in collaboration with the Division for Gender Studies, Stockholm University, presents ‘Curating Health: Graphic Medicine and Visual Representations of Illness’.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof. Lisa Diedrich, Stony Brook University
  • Dr. Ian Williams, Manchester Medical School and Graphic Medicine

We invite individual presentations, panel proposals or artistic contributions from across a range of disciplines in the Humanities, Practice Arts, Social Sciences and Biomedicine that engage with the theme of graphic medicine and visual representations of health and illness in all their dimensions. Graphic medicine is one major theme, but proposals may also focus on other forms of (experimental) visual representation in areas such as autobiography and memoir, poster art and display, and visual narratives.

We are particularly interested in papers that address the power differentials of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, crip, queer and ageing.

The deadline for abstract submissions is 15th August 2018. 

Send abstracts of no more than 300 words, including a biography of no more than 100 words, to

The Nordic Network for Gender, Body, Health will celebrate its 10th year with a reception during the conference. The Network is currently based in Sweden but has more than 200 members from across Europe. Previous international conferences and workshops include: Disability, Arts and Health (Bergen); Monitoring the Self (Helsinki); Interrogating Prostheses (Stockholm); Re-imagining Transplantation (Copenhagen).

Please visit our website for further details of past events and the upcoming conference.

CFP: ‘”The Disease of Caring”: Medical Professionals and Activism from the Nineteenth Century to the Present’, London

Date: Friday 26th October 2018

Location: School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London

Supported by the Birkbeck/Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund and the Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies

Keynote speaker: Dr Anne Hanley (Birkbeck)

In In Darkest London (1891), Margaret Harkness’s popular novel about activism to alleviate poverty conditions in late nineteenth-century London, a doctor practising in a slum neighbourhood speaks of the ‘disease of caring’ that prompts him to give medical care to people in need of much wider social change. Harkness herself had trained as a nurse and pharmacist and her medical knowledge continued to inform her activist work throughout her working life. Both her own career and the fictional doctor in her novel reflect how, as medical care became increasingly professionalised over the course of the nineteenth century, discourses of medicine, social influence, and activism also grew interlinked. From the radical revisions of care provision developed by nurses such as Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale during and after the Crimean War, to the widening of access to safe and effective birth control by activists from Annie Besant to Marie Stopes, to the founding of the NHS, to protests of junior doctors in the present day, the giving of medical care has often been a radical act, and givers of medical care have often allied themselves with a wide range of activist causes. This one-day symposium will aim to create a dialogue between examples and intentions of medical activists historically and in the present day.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers or poster presentations on medical activism in a broad sense. Papers may wish to address the following topics:

  • Equality of care and access to care
  • Conditions for medical work and care-giving, from field hospitals in the Crimean War to present-day hospital crises
  • Personal recognition within the medical profession, from women’s right to practise to demonstrations and strikes of junior doctors
  • Public health, from sanitation projects in the nineteenth century to obesity in the present day
  • Medical care as activism, from slum doctors in the nineteenth century to Médecins sans frontiers
  • The activism of medical professionals in non-medical fields
  • Patient choice and engagement

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to Flore Janssen at by Monday 30th July 2018. If your proposal is for a poster presentation, please indicate this clearly. Please include with your abstract a biographical statement of no more than 100 words.

For more information, visit the Disease of Caring website.

Registration Open: NNMHR Congress, ‘Medical Humanities: Futures’, Leeds

Location: Weetwood Hall, University of Leeds

Date: Thursday 20th – Friday 21st September 2018

The Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research (NNMHR) was founded in 2013 with the purpose of connecting individuals and institutions working in this dynamic area of interdisciplinary research. The network numbers scholars, practitioners, health professionals, artists and health advocates amongst its members and held its first Congress at Durham University in September 2017.

Registration is now open for the second NNMHR Congress, which takes as its theme “Medical Humanities: Futures”. The event will be held at Weetwood Hall at the University of Leeds on Thursday 20 – Friday 21 September 2018. The logic of the Congress is simple: it is an opportunity for people who are passionate or even simply curious about medical humanities research to present their work, share ideas, and meet potential future colleagues and collaborators.

The NNMHR Congress is funded by the Wellcome Trust and is free to attend. Please note that the Congress is not limited to members of the network. All refreshments will be provided, including a Congress dinner on the evening of September 20th. Any questions should be directed to Amelia Defalco at the University of Leeds.

The Congress Hashtag is #NNMHR2018