Ethics of Representing Care

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

Many professionals abide by an ethics of care in their work with patients, clients, and students. These documents provide guidelines about how people in a professional (and thus power-holding) role should act towards those they work with. No such ethics of care exists for writers broadly and, more specifically, for writers who write about those who need care or who primarily write about caring for others. While an ethics of care for writers is not necessarily a requirement or the end goal of this panel, this panel considers the stakes of representing care in cultural artifacts, especially when the act of care is centered over experiences of disability or illness.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted countless conversations about the imperatives, ethics, and labor of caring for others, whether formally as in a healthcare career or through other structures, but this conversation was occurring long before the pandemic as well, both culturally and in academic disciplines like Disability Studies. Key questions for these conversations have included: How do writers/creators depict the relationship between carers and the people they care for? What responsibility do creators of stories about caregiving have to the narrative of the person receiving care? How have texts (written or otherwise) envisioned new care models founded upon justice? This panel which will take place at the Northeastern Modern Language Association Conference in Baltimore, MD March 10-13, 2022 seeks papers that consider cultural representations of caring for people, whether sick, disabled, young, or old, that respond to the aforementioned questions.

For more information and to submit an abstract, visit: