Call for Papers: Representing Women’s Health: 12 June 2020, University of Glasgow


Keynote Speakers:

Dr Ria Cheyne (Liverpool Hope University)

Dr Agomoni Ganguli Mitra (University of Edinburgh)

Dr Anne Whitehead (Newcastle University)

Organiser: Dr Anna McFarlane (University of Glasgow)

The conversation around women’s health in recent years has circulated around the dismissal of women’s subjective experiences by caregivers and the ways in which women may find themselves disadvantaged in healthcare settings by prejudice and misunderstanding. Widely-reported events such as the mesh implant scandal, the treatment of Serena Williams during and after the delivery of her baby, a report finding that black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in the UK, and the Irish Repeal the 8th campaign have all been catalysts for discussions about women’s health and the medical establishment. This conference asks how representations of women’s health might intervene, allowing women to communicate their pain with one another and to help each other navigate a neoliberal, austerity-hit healthcare marketplace. Might representation and communication be used to build solidarity across barriers of class and identity, or might representation sometimes prove damaging? The conference is funded by the British Academy. It takes place at the University of Glasgow, home of the Wellcome Trust-funded Science and the Medical Humanities project and the first Fantasy Masters programme in the world, so a focus on fantastika and women’s health is particularly encouraged.

A non-exhaustive list of topics of interest:

• Fantastic representations of women’s health
• Reproductive futurism and the climate crisis
• Representing women’s health via the medical humanities
• Representing the intersections of feminism and disability studies
• Communicating the gender pain gap; dismissal of women’s pain
• Representations of pregnancy, including experiences of miscarriage, abortion and stillbirth
• Reproductive loss, including infertility, ‘social infertility’ and involuntary childlessness
• Representing pregnancy and the trans experience, e.g. Jeanie Finlay’s Seahorse
• Representing abortion in the culture wars
• Representing women’s health in memoir, or in other non-fictional media such as blogging
• Women’s health and the problem of medicalisation
• Navigating a neoliberal medical system

Abstracts of 200-250 words for 20-minute papers are welcome. The conference is also open to creative responses to the subject matter or you can bring a poster to display and discuss over lunch. Abstracts should be submitted with an accompanying CV by the 28th of February 2020 to

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