War, Nursing, Narrative (MMLA 2024 Conference)

deadline for submissions: 
April 15, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Douglas Dowland
contact email: 

Narratives of nursing during times of war are a reminder that, as Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “the body is not a thing, it is a situation.” Narratives construct these situations through seeing or denying the seeing of them. As Carol Acton and Jane Potter both note, “seeing… [is] an important metaphor for revealing what is hidden, especially what cannot be entirely comprehended or described, and articulating it to the writing self as well as bringing it to the attention of a public audience.” The narrative problems of nursing are those of seeing the situation of bodies and registering that situation at the level of language.

This panel thus seeks papers that examine the intersection between narrative work and care work, to deepen the understanding of the situation of nursing in wartime as narrative situations in affective terms. Papers that are oriented toward trauma theory as the incitement or foreclosure of narrative, or papers that are oriented toward affect theory, as the study of narrative’s conjunctural situation, are appreciated.

Paper topics may include:

*The nurse as the preserver of façades (the hospital as sanctuary, etc.);

*The nurse’s role as a conduit in medical power;

*The nurse as an attender to injury, especially in a setting in which injury is a criterion for return to the battlefield and the possibility of further, mortal injury;

*The nurse as carer and the affective complexity of caring in times of war;

*The nurse’s attention to the situation of bodies and the nurse’s own body as a situation;

*The nurse as narrator: as seer, denier, framer, focalizer, teller of stories.

250-word abstracts and CV are due Joshua Gooch (goochj@dyc.edu) and Douglas Dowland (d-dowland@onu.edu) by April 15.