CFP: Literature, Film and the Politics of Health (deadline: 31 Dec. 2019)

Call for Proposals: Literature, Film and the Politics of Health

Edited by Sarah Blanchette and Neil Brooks   
Published by Anthem Press


The Anthem Series on the Politics and Literature of Global Rights and Freedom examines the intersection of politics and works of literature, film and television. Focused on questions of human rights and freedom, titles in this series explore how works of culture and pop culture express and influence the perspectives of individuals. The series fosters original and challenging approaches from authors in political science, literature, philosophy, history, religious studies and law.
As countless alterations have taken place in medicine in the twenty-first century so too have literary artists addressed new understanding of disease and pathology. Dis/ability Studies, Fat Studies, Mad Studies, End of Life Studies, and Critical Race Studies among other fields have sought to come to better understand what social factors lead to pathologizing certain conditions while other variations remain “normalized.” While recognizing that these scholarly approaches often speak to identities with radically different experiences of pathologization, this collection of essays is open to all critical engagements with narratives of health in order to facilitate the messiness of cross-disciplinary collaboration and interdisciplinarity. As scientific advances provide insight into a wide range of well-being issues and help extend life, it is vital that we come to question the very categories of healthy and unhealthy. This collection brings together analysis of cultural productions which probe those categorizations and suggest new psychological and philosophical understandings which will help better apply and guide the knowledge being rapidly developed within the life sciences. “Right of health” is a widely accepted human right, but in applying a right to healthcare what care and what sort of health are less universally agreed upon. The contributors share an interest in addressing who controls answers to the questions of “how do we define a healthy body and a healthy life?” and “what are the political forces that influence our definitions of health?” 

Although not all contributions will take a feminist lens, feminist thought has questioned the medical community’s response to women’s bodies, contributed to the de-stigmatization of difference, and challenged gendered binaries. Consequently, many of the essays will be informed by the possibilities enabled through the work of feminist scholars. Just as feminist writing positioned storytelling as a way of overcoming the way women’s bodies were defined as unfit and inferior, so too are literary and visual artists exploring how empowering personal and cultural expressions of dis/abled bodies, Mad bodies, trans bodies, fat bodies, racialized bodies, and aged bodies among others can overcome pathologizing normative standards.

The globalization of healthcare protocols has brought many advances but also challenges to traditional understanding of health within many cultures. This collection invites papers that examine narratives of health from all countries, cultures and communities and is not limited to a North American or Western locus. Further, just as Edward Said problematized “travelling theory” this book hopes to bring together scholars who look at how literary works also show that medical interventions from a Western perspective need to be challenged when applied to communities whose voices are often not heard or deliberately undermined when those “treatments” are developed.

We are asking for proposals of about 500 words for papersto fit the collection described above. The collection will include a range of scholars in different fields, but each essay will focus on how cultural productions including, but not limited to, novels, poems, graphic novels, visual art, film, television and popular culture intervene with health discourse in biomedicine and contribute to socio-cultural narratives of health. 

Please submit proposals or any questions to Dr. Neil Brooks Proposals (or optionally completed papers) are due December 31st, 2019. Submission deadline for accepted papers will be May 25th, 2020. Expected publication date with Anthem Press is February 2021. 

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