Contemporary Narratives of Care (Fri 25 October 2013; Birkbeck, University of London)

full name / name of organization: 
Reina van der Wiel, Centre for Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck, University of London

Call For Papers Deadline: 16 August 2013

This symposium seeks to bring together scholars, creative writers and medical practitioners interested in, and working on, the issue of care within the rapidly growing field of medical humanities. It will incorporate both professional and non-professional care (between intimate others, such as parents and children, partners, siblings or friends) primarily but not exclusively relating to illness, disability, the young and the elderly. It will focus on narratives and representations of care in contemporary literature and life-writing. How do these texts give form and meaning to the psychosocial impact of caregiving – or its failure? What kind of theoretical framework(s) may be useful in reading such narratives/representations?

Open to all disciplines and theoretical approaches, the symposium welcomes proposals for 20-minute papers or more informal, 10-minute descriptions of your field and research/work.

Topics for papers might include, but are certainly not limited to:

• What constitutes 'care'?
• The role of language and/or literary form in representing care;
• Carers as writers and/or as literary subjects;
• Different forms of care, such as life-long care, terminal care, curative care;
• The experience of caregiving;
• The experience of receiving care;
• Moral philosophy/ethics of care;
• Psychoanalysis;
• Emotions and affects;
• The politics of care: gender, 'race', class, sexuality;
• Human relationality/the impact of care on intimacy;
• Violence and care;
• The role of religion, secularization and individualism;
• The failure of care.

Please send a max. 300-word abstract or max. 150-word description of your field/research/work and a max. 50-word biography to by 16 August 2013.

The symposium is free and all are welcome. To register please email