4th Global Conference
Making Sense of: Health, Illness and Disease
Monday 4th July - Thursday 7th July 2005
Mansfield College, Oxford
Call for Papers
(please cross post where appropriate)
This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary project aims to explore the processes by which we attempt to create meaning in health, illness and disease. The project will examine the models and metaphors we use to understand our experiences of health and illness (looking particularly at perceptions of the body), and to evaluate the diversity of ways in which we creatively struggle to make sense of such experiences and express ourselves across a range of media.
Papers, presentations, reports and workshops are invited on any of the following themes;
the 'significance' of health, illness and disease for individuals and communities; the factors which influence our perceptions of health and illness experiences
the concept of the 'well' person; the preoccupation with health; the attitudes of the 'well' to the 'ill'; perceptions of 'impairment' and disability; the challenges posed when confronted by illness and disease; the notion of being 'cured'; chronic illness; terminal illness; attitudes to death
how we perceive of and conduct ourselves through the experiences of health and illness; the effects on our sense of identity; our relationship with our own body; how others perceive us - family, friends, strangers, doctors, nurses, care givers
'models' of the body; the body in pain; biological and medical views of illness; the ambiguous relationship with 'alternative' medicine and therapies; the doctor-patient relationship; the 'clinical gaze'; the body as machine and the role of technology; the rise of genetics; manipulation of the body - transplantation, surgery; the body as resource; 'artificial' bodies; the impact of body 'models' on the person
the impact of health, illness and disease on biology, economics, government, medicine, politics, social sciences; the changing relationship between society and medical development; the potential influences of gender, ethnicity, and class; health care, service providers, and public policy
the nature and role of 'metaphors' in expressing the experiences of health, illness and disease - for example, illness as 'another country'; the role of narrative and narrative interpretation in making sense of the 'journey' from health through illness, diagnosis, and treatment; the importance of story telling; dealing with chronic and terminal illness; the 'myths' surrounding health, illness and disease
the relationship between creative work and illness and disease: the work of artists, musicians, poets, writers. Illness and the literary imagination - studies of writers and literature which take health, disability, illness and disease as a central theme
Papers are also solicited for special sessions which will be held in common with a second research project running at the same time entitled "Environmental Justice and Global Citizenship". Papers dealing with issues surrounding the health impacts of technological developments are encouraged. For example, we welcome submissions dealing with themes exploring the notion of 'environments' (both natural, built and virtual) as a backdrop where technologies are used through thought and action to achieve sustainability, but where mismatches between environmental issues and technological solutions have experienceable effects on health which, untreated (such as non- recognition of stress, mental ill health), result in illness. Papers could also deal with the gap between environmental ills and technological and technical solutions, and the possible consequent greater probability of disease and death. Holistic solutions to health, illness and environmental issues could usefully be explored, along with citizenship issues and access to health care.
Perspectives are sought from those engaged in:
art and art therapy, creative writing, English literature, history of medicine, media studies, the performing arts (dance, music, theatre), philosophy and ethics, psychology and social psychology, social sciences, sociology and socio-biology, theology and religious studies
anatomy, child care nursing, clinical psychology, counseling, gerontology, health education, health services, hospital administration, immunology, medical and surgical nursing, medicine and the medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, public health care
practitioners in health care fields - doctors, GP's, surgeons, health care workers, care givers, hospice workers
Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 11th March 2005. If selected for presentation, 8 page draft conference papers should be submitted by Friday 10th June 2005.
Papers should be submitted to the Joint Organising Chairs: these should be sent as an email attachment in Word or WordPerfect; abstracts can also be submitted in the body of the email text rather than as an attachment.
Joint Organising Chairs
Prof Peter L. Twohig
Canada Research Chair
c/o Gorsebrook Research Institute
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS Canada B3H 3C3
Dr. Rob Fisher (contact information provided below)
All papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be published in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be published in a themed hard copy volume. Two themed volumes are in print and one themed volume is in press from the previous conferences.
The conference is part of Inter-Disciplinary.Net's 'Probing the Boundaries' programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
For further details about the project please visit:
For further details about the conference please visit the following web address.
Dr Rob Fisher
149B Wroslyn Road
Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR
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