CFP: Resilience

The Society for the Social History of Medicine hosts a major biennial, international, and interdisciplinary conference. In years without SSHM conference, we sponsor the biennial conference of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health.

Call for Papers

50th Anniversary Conference: Resilience

Swansea University, 8-11 July 2020

  • What are the histories of resilience as a medical, psychiatric and biological concept? What are the connections between resilience and the social history of medicine?
  • How have concepts of resilience been used to understand, explain and give meaning to experiences of trauma, stress, illness, disability, and forms of damaged life?
  • How have people built and developed resilience in the face of catastrophe and sickness?
  • How have different bodies adapted to extreme conditions, such as deprivation, famine, war, genocide, disease, or climate change?
  • How does de-centring the human experience provide greater insight into resilience and adaptation?
  • How have concepts of resilience been raced, classed or gendered?
  • How have healthcare systems adapted to complex local and global challenges?
  • How has medicine, broadly defined, assisted in building resilience in adverse conditions and how have forms of assistance shifted over time?

We seek papers from all periods and regions that address these questions and create dialogues across time and space. There will be three plenary keynotes and a special session celebrating the Society’s own resilience in the changing academic environment of the past 50 years.

Papers (20 minutes) relating to these themes might address, but are not limited to:

  • personal or group trauma and recovery
  • resilience and the histories of ageing, childhood or transitions through life stages
  • resistance to stigmatisation through physical or mental impairment
  • patient experiences of rehabilitation and recovery
  • adaptation to or normalisation of adverse physiological, psychological or environmental circumstances across species
  • efforts to find ways to control resistant bacteria

We particularly welcome papers or panels that are explicitly inclusive and embed diversity into our discussions.

Proposals for papers should be in a single Word document, including 250-word abstract and a short CV/biographical statement, and sent to by 31 December 2019. Panel proposals (3 or 4 papers) are also welcomed, and should include the same information plus a statement of what the panel’s aims are. It should be noted however that proposing a panel is no guarantee of inclusion in the programme.

Registration for the conference will open in January 2020: please check back on the Society’s webpages for details of how to register.

Please note: SSHM bursaries are available for student/ECR participants, and details can be found at the Society’s web page:

Enquiries about bursaries should be sent to the SSHM Executive Secretary,, not the conference address.