deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Ronja Bodola, PhD (Dept. of Psychiatry, LSU HSC)
contact email: 

ROUNDTABLE NARRATIVES AND MENTAL HEALTH (South Atlantic MLA, November 4–6, 2021, Atlanta/Georgia)

Narratives and stories are ambivalent tools of empowerment, a pharmakon that is potentially a remedy as well as a poison. They are both able to bridge social distances and to divide social networks. The events of the last year have exacerbated the roles of narratives for mental health, specifically. Although the intersection of narratives, story-telling and mental health has been widely discussed across various disciplines, only one side tends to be focused on. In mental health specialties and in narrative medicine, the positive aspects of sense-making and identity-formation are stressed, while the inherent power-relations and ethics are overlooked. In literary, media and cultural studies, the discourses and representations of mental health are often under critical scrutiny, while the positive outcomes of narrative experientiality are rarely considered. This roundtable welcomes papers that reflect on the ambivalent aspects of narratives, on narrative ethics and biopower in connection to mental health. Please note this special Roundtable format, where participants will share papers one week ahead of the scheduled conference and discuss the papers during the Roundtable discussion. By June 30th, please send a 250 to 500-word proposal, a CV, and any A/V requests to Ronja Tripp-Bodola,


Keywords: medical humanities, narratology, mental health, narrative medicine