Subscribers to this site might remember Anna Katharina Schaffner‘s fantastic guest-post on the cultural history of exhaustion. It turned out to be one of the most frequently read pieces we have published this year. And so it’s great to see that Anna is now planning a one-day conference on the same topic, supported by the Wellcome Trust. She describes her plans, here:
The conference will explore different medical, psychiatric and psychoanalytic narratives on the origins of and cures for exhaustion. It will analyse the ways in which exhaustion features as a main symptom in related diagnostic categories, such as depression, burnout, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and melancholia, neurasthenia and nervous weakness. It will also explore the metaphorical allure of the term and its deployment in other discourses, in particular in the fields of literature, economics and ecology.I have invited experts to talk about the different forms exhaustion can take, and different ways of theorizing its aetiologies and effects, including psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational health specialists, historians, sociologists, literary scholars and psychoanalysts. Simon Wessely and Angela Woods are amongst the speakers.There are still two slots available for presentations, and I would very much welcome your proposals. If you are interested in participating, please email me – A.K.Schaffner[at]kent.ac.uk – with a short abstract by August 31.