Illness Narratives, Networked Subjects, and Intimate Publics (CfP, deadline 30 November 2016)

You are invited to submit essays to a a peer-reviewed, themed section of Catalyst on the topic of ‘Illness Narratives, Networked Subjects, and Intimate Publics,’ edited by Tamara Kneese and Beza Merid

Illness, injury, dying, and death have been recent sites of scholarly investigation in fields like feminist critical theory, STS, and medical anthropology (Braidotti 2013, Fassin 2007, Jain 2006, Mialet 2012, Serlin 2010). Through the production and circulation of personal narratives about experiences with pain and loss, new publics are created while networked subjectivities are negotiated. Complex publics and subjectivities form through encounters between patients and caregivers, among networks of mourners, and through subjects who trade paradigms for “how best to live on, considering” (Berlant 2011). Those who are sick or dying may describe their affective, embodied, psychological, and existential conditions over social media platforms, through illness blogs or comedy performances, over Kickstarter campaigns seeking money to help with medical costs, during in-person support group meetings, or in emails sent to update established social networks. Caregivers may give voice to their own experiences through similar outlets, producing and circulating knowledge about their position as care workers who, facing burnout or illness, need care themselves. Face-to-face interactions, privately sent emails, posts on semi-public Facebook walls, and the public comment sections of personal illness blogs all participate in the production of both subjects and publics.

Given the complex, relational aspects of illness, injury, dying, and death, submissions might take inspiration from a range of voices, including those in feminist work on affect and embodied care. Possible themes of accepted papers might include:

  • The relationship between social media platforms and care work
  • Digital media where experiences of and knowledge production about illness are shared
  • Imaginings of the self in relation to illness, injury, or mortality
  • Networks formed, reinforced, or maintained through sickness, dying, and death
  • New taxonomies of kinship induced by networked publics and experiences of illness
  • Articulations of and negotiations with biomedical risk
  • The affects/effects of health and illness
  • The conceptualization of health as a personal, moral, and civic responsibility
  • Performances and narratives surrounding illness, death, and enduring
  • The temporal experiences of illness, dying, and care
  • Institutional, infrastructural, and personal life spans

Titles and abstracts for submissions must be received by November 30, 2016. Please send abstracts to illnessnarrativescfp@gmail.com. Selected authors will then be asked to submit draft articles to Catalyst through the online submission portal by March 15, 2017. Selected submissions will be published pending peer review.

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