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The Politics of Health Conference

Posted by on Friday, June 14, 2019 in Home, News.

The Politics of Health2020 International Health Humanities Consortium Conference 
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
March 26-28, 2020

Conference Chair: Jonathan M. Metzl
 Conference Co-Chair: Manisha Mishra 

Registration is now open! Click here to register for the conference

Special rate hotel rooms are filling up fast! Click here for hotel information

The sixth annual Health Humanities Consortium (HHC) conference will explore the politics of health and healthcare in the context of world events and a vital 2020 election year. Health is a desired state – we all want to be healthy.  But health is increasingly a contested political state as well. Debates about who is deserving of health or healthcare intersect with questions, issues, and themes regarding matters such as race, gender, citizenship, identity, and representation that also lie at the core of the health humanities.

Abstract submission form (now closed)                             Call-for-Papers (CFP)

Potential topics that might be addressed include (but not limited to):

  • In what ways are health humanities and social sciences “political”? What are the social missions of the humanities and social sciences, and in what ways can they address issues such as health equity, justice, and inclusion?
  • In our contested political age, can the humanities and social sciences promote empathy or understanding of contested points of view
  • How can representations of health in language/literature, film, art, or media uncover deeper understandings of the complex political meanings of health and illness?
  • How does a humanistic or social scientific lens contribute to understandings of issues such as The Affordable Care Act, Medicare for all, Brexit, big data or the rise of identity movements that deny humanity and healthcare to “others”?
  • How can an academic lens be applied to present-day hot-button political topics that have profound health implications – such as guns, racism, women’s reproductive health, genetics/personalized medicine, war, vaccines, ableism, addiction, or climate change?
  • How do health politics differ by country, region or locale?
  • How does focusing on the poetics of politics enable collaboration with disciplines such as public health, political science, sociology, anthropology, or economics?
  • What are the social and political responsibilities of practitioners/teachers/students of the humanities and social sciences in the current era?
  • Which academic methods best examine and analyze the upcoming 2020 election?
  • What desired political futures can we imagine for individual and public health?
  • How does social media enable, enhance, or thwart political participation?

Courtesy of Herb WilliamsThe Rymer              Gallery (Nashville, TN).

Courtesy of Herb Williams, The Rymer Gallery (Nashville, TN).

Key Conference Dates: 
Abstract Deadline: October 4, 2019
Abstract Decisions: November 20, 2019
Conference Dates: March 26-28, 2020

Conference Costs: 
Full Conference Attendance: $350
One Day Attendance (Friday or Saturday): $250
Student (Full Conference): $100 *must upload a copy of student ID*
Registration cost includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, water/coffee/tea during the conference events

Location:Center for Medicine, Health, and Society
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN 37235

Contact Information: 
Please direct any questions to

About the Health Humanities Consortium:The Health Humanities Consortium (HHC) promotes health humanities scholarship, education, and practices through interdisciplinary methods and theories that focus on the intersection of the arts and humanities, health, illness, and healthcare. Our goals are to:

  • Promote understanding of the experiences of patients, caregivers, and communities as they are shaped in relation to models of disease, illness, health, and wellness.
  • Share practices and scholarship through an annual meeting.
  • Educate the public, healthcare professionals, and educators about the history, practice, and study of health humanities.

About Nashville:Vanderbilt’s hometown of Nashville, TN (BNA airport) is a vibrant, engaging city known proudly as Music City, U.S.A. Along with its musical background, Nashville is a part of growing industries such as healthcare, education, hospitality, entertainment, hipsterism, and technology.


Conference Sponsors:

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