Sick Theories: A Transdisciplinary Conference on Sickness and Sexuality

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Conference organizers: Margeaux Feldman (University of Toronto) and Lauren Fournier (York University)
contact email: 

Sick Theories: A Trans-Disciplinary Conference on Sickness & Sexuality

Sick Theories is a two-day trans-disciplinary colloquium organized by Margeaux Feldman (University of Toronto) and Lauren Fournier (York University) through the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, to be held in Fall 2018.

Thursday, November 8 - Friday, November 9, 2018

The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

In Sick Theories, we take up this word “sick” and the ways in which it is different from and/or similar to “ill” or “disabled.” As a word, illness operates to make the realities of sickness more palatable for the neoliberal, capitalist world that depends upon the oppression of the sick body and labels it as unproductive. Sickness demarcates the messiness, ugliness, and inexplicable nature of disease, bringing us back to the original meaning of disease as dis-ease. What does it mean to be sick, as opposed to being ill? What directions might critical disability studies, critical mad studies, sexual diversity studies, and queer theory take us as we reconsider what it means to be sick? With Sick Theories, we bring together scholars, writers, artists, activists, and educators to untangle the relationships between sickness and sexuality. We advocate intersectional feminist frameworks, and encourage submissions from across disciplines, including Sexual Diversity Studies, Critical Disability Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, English literature, Visual arts, Women’s Studies in Education, and Performance Studies. In this transdisciplinary meeting of folks from varied backgrounds, we want to emphasize the importance of having people who identify as sick, mad, disabled (and related identifiers).

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
-> Sick woman theory
-> Illness narratives
-> Disability activism
-> Critical madness studies
-> Critical disability studies
-> “Mad pride,” “crip pride,” and other movements
-> Pathologization of sickness
-> Sickness and neoliberalism
-> Sickness and relationships
-> STIs and HIV
-> “Sick” as a discourse of perversion and non-normativity
-> Writing, inscribing, performing sickness
-> Discourses of care
-> Temporality of sickness; chronic illness and the recurrent and ongoing
-> Shifting discourses of mental health and mental illness
-> The circulation, dissemination, and sharing of knowledge around health and illness
-> Sickness, sexuality, and spirituality
-> Alternative approaches to healing and care
-> Failure
-> Abjection
-> Marginalized and misunderstood sickness
-> Pathology and perversion
-> Pain, pleasure, and jouissance
-> Boundaries and limits

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: JULY 15, 2018

We welcome you to submit paper proposals, as well as proposals for workshops. Please consider questions of accessibility in the workshop proposals, noting any space requirements or other accessibility parameters.

For paper proposals: please submit an abstract of 250 words as a Microsoft Word (DOC) file, along with a brief bio, to sicktheories@gmail.com

For workshop proposals: please include a description of the workshop (250 words), along with any logistical requirements and facilitation information, as a Microsoft Word (DOC) file, along with a brief bio, to sicktheories@gmail.com

As a trans-disciplinary colloquium, we also welcome submissions of visual arts, sound art, performance, installation, video, and film, for an art exhibition and screening.

For film/video submissions, please submit the file as a MOV or MP4; if it available to be viewed online, you can also send us a link to the video with any required passwords to view. Please provide us with the artist name, title, length, and any other pertinent media details, including screening requirements. Please submit a brief bio along with your submission, along with a brief description or artist statement about the work and how it pertains to the Sick Theories theme (250 words). Submit these materials to sicktheories@gmail.com

For all other arts submissions, please submit up to 10 images of the body of work you are proposing as JPEGs, along with a brief description or artist statement about the work and how it pertains to the Sick Theories theme (250 words). While we do not have specific file size requirements, we suggest sending images of as high a resolution as is possible to send (given gmail file size requirements and what files you have access to). Please submit a brief bio along with your submission.

Please direct any questions to the conference organizers, Margeaux Feldman and Lauren Fournier, at sicktheories@gmail.com