Medical Humanities: Health and Disease in Popular Culture (CfP, Seattle WA, 21-25 March 2016)

DEADLINE:  October 1, 2015 

The “Medical Humanities: Health and Disease in Culture” area for the 2016 Popular and American Culture Association meeting in Seattle invites proposals related to the portrayal of health, illness, and health care in the discourses of popular and American culture.  Proposals representing perspectives in the humanities and the arts (e.g., film, history, literature, visual arts), social sciences (e.g., anthropology, cultural studies, sociology), and mass media (e.g., print or electronic journalism) in historical or contemporary contexts are welcome.

Individual and full panel proposals are considered. For full panel proposals (generally four persons) please include titles and abstracts for all participants.

Subject areas might include but are not limited to:

  • Narratives of physical and mental illness or disability told from the perspective of patient and/or provider in contemporary pop culture media: fiction, poetry, graphic fiction, memoir, television, film etc.
  • Discourses of patient education and/or advocacy—magazines, websites, discussion boards, tv doctors, social media
  • Intersections and missed connections: improving lay and expert communication about illness and wellness
  • Narrative in/about/as medicine
  • The medical humanities—what is the discipline? What can it do? How? What’s the connection with popular culture?
  • The problematic representation of illness narrative in popular culture (quests, battles, wins, losses, survivors, victims—and the construction of the patient-as-subject)
  • The construction of medical knowledge and beliefs about illness through the discourses of popular culture: medical melodrama, reality programs, social media, direct-to-consumer advertising, journalism, advertorials, the internet
  • Public health initiatives, patient education, threats, and risk in popular culture
  • The representation of global health issues and the globalization of disease in popular discourses

Proposal abstracts (max 300 words) must be submitted online at the PCAACA website.

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