CFP: [Science] Prescribing Gender in Medicine and Narrative

full name / name of organization: 
Angela Laflen
contact email: 

Gender is a particularly important, if often overlooked, context for
medicine. Not only does one become visible within medicine as a gendered
subject (susceptibility for illness and particular injuries are strongly
linked to gender, for example, and numerous diseases are gender-specific),
but gender directly affects the way an individual, whether doctor or
patient, will be perceived and treated. Consequently, though medical
narratives exert considerable social power as they claim the ability to
speak the truth about gender, medical narratives and interactions are
themselves shaped by existing stereotypes about gender. This is
particularly true with regard to the ways that patients and medical
professionals conform to and perform gendered roles in their interactions
with one another. This roundtable seeks to investigate gendered
perceptions and representations of healers (including doctors, physicians,
nurses, midwives, surgeons, non-Western healers, physical therapists,
etc.,) and patients in all forms of narrative, including fiction, popular
literature, poetry, memoir, film, television, and visual art. Some of the
questions we hope to address include how gender stereotypes pervade/inform
the representation and perception of healers and patients, including how
such notions affect the dynamics of the doctor-patient relationship that
is portrayed in these various media. How are men and women shown
as “different,” dissimilar and even contradictory in their healing
capacities, capabilities, styles, and manners? How far have we come from
the classic 1950s Little Golden Books Dr. Dan the Bandage Man and Nurse
Nancy (both recently reissued as late as 2005), which are rife with
stereotypes of gendered forms of healing? Are certain fields and/or
professions represented as more “masculine” or “feminine” than others? Is
the medical gaze a “male” gaze? What role does gender play in the
perception of patients as “good” and “bad”? How does gender affect the
ways that patients perceive of themselves, their illness or injury, and
their interactions with medical personnel? What are the
manifestations/implications of a “reversal” of these stereotypes? We
welcome papers from a variety of disciplines, historical periods, and
theoretical perspectives, as well as those focused on narratives from
around the world.

Topics to consider include but are not limited to:

-gendered healing “styles” and “bedside manners”
- the intersection of gender with issues of race, class, disability, and
religion in the medical context
-“reverse” gender stereotypes (i.e., portrayal of the female doctor-male
patient relationship; the male nurse or patient)
-the gendering of particular medical professions (gynecology, midwivery,
dermatology, among others)
- the gendering of particular illnesses or injuries
-portrayals of female and/or minority doctors, nurses and healers in film
as well as popular literature/culture, esp. television (Grey’s Anatomy and
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, both of which have female doctors as
-portrayal of healers and patients in children’s literature
-gendering of the child patient

Please send a 350-450 words abstract by October 1, 2007 to Marcelline
Block, and Angela Laflen,
Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
Short Bio.
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any)

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Received on Mon Aug 20 2007 - 16:05:23 EDT