CFP: Medical Humanities: Health and Disease in Culture

CALL FOR PAPERS: Medical Humanities: Health and Disease in Culture


Chicago, IL, April 16-19, 2014

DEADLINE: November 1, 2013

The “Medical Humanities: Health and Disease in Culture” area for the 2014 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association meeting in Chicago, IL invites presentation proposals related to the portrayal of health, illness and health care in the discourses of popular and American culture. Proposals representing perspectives in the humanities and the arts (e.g., film, history, literature, visual arts), social sciences (e.g., anthropology, cultural studies, sociology) and mass media (e.g., print or electronic journalism) in historical or contemporary contexts are welcome.

Individual and full panel proposals are considered. For full panel proposals (generally four persons) please include titles and abstracts for all participants. Subject areas might include but are not limited to:

  • ◾stories of illness from patient and health practitioner perspectives in novels, short stories, poetry, memoirs, graphic comics, etc., discussed in sociocultural, historical or political contexts
  • ◾historical and contemporary narratives of chronic illness as represented in films, television, advertising, news media, and social media
  • ◾historical and contemporary representations of illness (including stigmatization) in popular culture genres, the education of health professionals, and health care practice literature
  • ◾disability narratives in literature, history, and popular culture
  • ◾representations of health institutions or health practitioners in historical and contemporary perspectives
  • ◾health care reform discourse (e.g., public debate over national health insurance in electoral politics, disability rights, “patient-centered” health care, medical homes, health care access, health disparities, electronic medical records)
  • ◾pharmaceuticals and the pharmaceutical industry (e.g., drug/prescription/OTC use and misuse; popular perceptions; promotion and marketing; drug development or regulation; clinical trials)
  • ◾historical and contemporary perspectives on public health “threats,” e.g., obesity, smoking, addictions, antibiotic resistance, radiation
  • ◾historical and contemporary representations of health promotion through diet, exercise, personal or domestic hygiene, positive psychology
  • ◾historical and contemporary narratives of epidemics, pandemics, emerging and re-emerging diseases (e.g., cholera, polio, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDs, flu) in literature, television, and film
  • ◾global public health infrastructure issues (e.g., access to water and safety; famine and food safety; vaccine access; control of environmental factors that contribute to illness; civil unrest)
  • ◾representations of the globalization of disease (e.g., medical and dental tourism; national/international governmental public health organizations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs); global disease surveillance; public health “preparedness” efforts; “natural” or “man-made” disasters)
  • ◾panels on medical humanities teaching strategies or the reading/performance of creative works

Proposal abstracts of 100 to no more than 250 words must be submitted online at the PCAACA website at:

Area Co-Chairs: Carol-Ann Farkas, Associate Professor of English, School of Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences-Boston, 179 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 Phone: 617-732-2852

David E. Tanner, Associate Professor of American Studies and Humanities, School of Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences-Boston, 179 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 Phone: 617-732-2908