CFP: Interrogating Gendered Pathologies

Call for Chapters: Interrogating Gendered Pathologies
Edited by Erin A. Frost and Michelle F. Eble

The field of medical rhetorics has produced numerous studies over the past 15 years showing disparities in health (Agne, Thompson, & Cusella, 2000; Bennett, 2009; Berg & Mol, 1998; Britt, 2001; Brueggemann, Dunn, White, Heifferon, & Cheu, 2001; Dutta & Kreps, 2013; Eggly, Barton, Winckles, Penner, & Albrecht, 2013; Kevles, 1998; Kreps, 2005; Lynch, & Dubriwny, 2005; Sankar, Cho, Condit, Hunt, Koenig, Marshall, Lee, & Spicer, 2004; Scott, 2003; Zoller & Meloncon, 2013). In fact, evidence of gender and race-based health disparities continues to exist despite numerous legislative attempts to eradicate them (e.g. the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 which required the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research, the designation of the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities as a NIH institute in 2010, the Healthy People program established in 1979). Female bodies, in particular, are disproportionately medicalized, labeled as non-normative, and brought under surveillance and disciplined by the medical sphere. Non-white bodies, queer bodies, and differently abled bodies are often marked as particularly risky. This should concern not just members of these groups, but everyone: “indeed, we are all more or less abnormal in some way or another, and thus we are all potential targets for psychiatric power” and medical power (Taylor, 2015, p. 264).

Even in studies that focus on specific populations, we sometimes conflate identity characteristics with biology. For example, Johnson (2013) reports that heart disease presents differently in women than it does in men. While this information is important in better diagnosing women (who, historically, have been measured against male norms), it also risks not accounting for the fact that not all women (or men) present in the same way; some women might experience symptoms “like a man” or vice versa–to say nothing of those who do not self-identify according to either of our culture’s simplistic sexually dimorphic (male/female) gender categories. Ultimately, work on health disparities tends to focus on technology and biology despite the fact that pathology–the process by which we determine causes and symptoms of diseases–clearly has social and cultural components that are just as significant. Drawing on the work of both medical rhetoricians and technoscience scholars (e.g. Haraway, 1983; Harding, 2005; Hayles, 1999; Idhe, 2003; Latour, 1987; Wajcman, 2004), we want to reunite technological and biological information with the lived realities of the bodies said information belongs to.

This proposed edited collection engages the field of medical rhetoric in more actively re-orienting ourselves toward recognition of the whole body in context. This collection will focus especially on gender issues–in part because of a dearth of work in this area–but we also seek to recognize the intersectionality of health disparities across race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and (dis)ability. We welcome chapter proposals from scholars in a variety of fields that relate to medical rhetorics, and we invite a range of topics related to gendered pathology including but not limited to the following themes:
• the gendered and intersectionally charged nature of healthcare and medical practice and communication
• health disparity patterns
• feminist technoscience approaches to healthcare disparities
• work that moves toward active interventions into unjust healthcare patterns
• identification of new areas in need of attention
• rhetorical practices by which bodies are constructed and constrained by healthcare discourses
• regulations and guidelines for preventative care (e.g. mammograms) and the effects of changes to such rhetorics

Please send chapter proposals of up to 400 words and a one-page vita to Erin Frost ( and Michelle Eble ( by March 1, 2016.

400-word proposal due Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Acceptance of proposal determined by Friday, April 1, 2016
Chapter draft (9,000 words maximum) due Thursday, September 1, 2016

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