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Organisers: Larry Duffy (Kent) and Steven Wilson (QUB)

CFP Deadline: 24 June 2024
Conference Dates: 3-4 September 2024 

Keynote Speaker: Anna Elsner, Associate Professor of French Studies & Medical Humanities, St Gallen University, and PI on ERC Project ‘Assisted Dying in European Writing and Visual Culture: Reciprocal Interactions between Law, Medicine and the Arts since 2000’

As part of strategic attempts to ‘de-centre’ the medical humanities from its longstanding focus on anglophone cultural contexts, research in Modern Languages has foregrounded the importance of linguistic and cultural sensitivity in analyses of the factors that condition the operation and implications of modern medicine. The particular contribution the French-speaking world has made to the development of a more global medical humanities has recently been outlined in the état présent ‘French Studies and the Medical Humanities’ (French Studies 78.2, 2024). 

The so-called ‘first wave’ of research at the intersection of French studies and the medical humanities produced an important body of work analysing representations of corporeality and the power dynamics at play in the medical encounter. More recently, the field has begun to engage in a significant theoretical turn, analysing how healthcare is marked by the effects of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, belief systems, histories and structural inequalities. As the medical humanities in a French cultural and linguistic context interacts more explicitly with multidisciplinary and multimodal strategies that decipher and document the factors at stake in the representation of medical experiences, the field is increasingly characterised by intersectional approaches, including with scholarship on the environment, law, post/colonialism, digital humanities and translation.

This workshop will showcase the ramifications of innovative approaches in a French cultural and critical context for the broader development of the medical humanities as an interdisciplinary field. We seek contributions that analyse how French cultural production on representations of medical experience and healthcare is situated at various intersections, including (but not limited to):
•epidemics and ecology (demonstrating how nonhuman voices are crucial to understanding the operation of disease)
•medical practice and the ongoing effects of colonialism (notably in a francophone African context)
•connections between the development of AI/digital healthcare and new expressions of patienthood
•the evolution of medical spaces to accommodate queer and non-binary bodies
•reciprocal interactions between contemporary culture and legal frameworks in representations of the end of life. 

Conceptually, we also want to consider how cultural production in the French-speaking world is prompting a re-evaluation of the points of intersection between the medical humanities, the mental health humanities, neurodiversity studies and critical disability studies (e.g. with reference to Stuart Murray’s Medical Humanities and Disability Studies: In/Disciplines (Bloomsbury, 2023)).
250-word proposals for 20-minute presentations (in English or French) should be sent to steven.wilson@qub.ac.uk and W.L.Duffy@kent.ac.uk by Monday 24 June 2024.

Download CFP (pdf)

On the second day of the workshop, there will be a dedicated ASMCF-sponsored Training Session on Methodologies for PGT/PGR/PDRA colleagues working in French studiesand the medical humanities, led by Benjamin Dalton (Lancaster University). Registration details tofollow.