Contemporary Womxn’s Writing and the Medical Humanities - International Conference

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


The medical humanities describes an increasingly prevalent and diverse field which seeks to explore interdisciplinary dialogues and crossovers between the health sciences and the humanities. This field, for instance, tests what disciplines such as literary and film studies, philosophy, history of medicine, ethics and many more can offer to our understanding of medicine and health care, and vice versa. This international conference, run in association with the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW) and hosted by the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR), undertakes to explore how contemporary womxn’s writing—across fiction, poetry, non-fiction, (auto)biography, philosophy, comics, etc.—approaches illness, medicine, and public health. What are the distinct innovations that contemporary womxn’s writing brings to the medical humanities? And what do the medical humanities bring to the study of contemporary womxn’s writing?

Following the successful online seminar series ‘Contemporary Women’s Writing and the Medical Humanities’ (September 2020-March 2021), this international conference aims to continue the rich dialogue and research that have defined the seminars thus far. In this conference, we particularly encourage work on womxn, non-binary, trans and LGBTQIA+ experiences. It will continue the seminar series’ aim to explore how contemporary womxn’s writing (be this fiction, non-fiction, poetry, (auto)biography or life writing, philosophical and theoretical writing, comics, etc.) is currently engaging with issues such as illness, disease, healthcare, medical practice, and clinical institutions.

This conference is organised around several central objectives. Firstly, it seeks to establish and expand upon a reservoir of key figures in contemporary womxn’s writing whose work resonates with the medical humanities. This would include both well-known writers who might not have been considered in relation to medical humanities before, and also lesser known writers who demand more critical attention. In this way, the conference aims to showcase the diverse, interdisciplinary, and intersectional ways in which contemporary womxn’s writing engages with the medical humanities and explore how this engagement might transform the critical legacies already surrounding these writers. Secondly, the conference undertakes to underline and highlight the importance of the study of contemporary womxn’s writing in relation to medical humanities research, and in relation to medical research and practice more broadly. Finally, the event will showcase what healthcare and innovative medical thought can do for contemporary, intersectional feminisms, and highlight the role of contemporary womxn’s writing in challenging imbalances in power and representation in medical discourses and practices.

A publication stemming from both the seminar series and the conference has been planned, and we will be holding workshops at the conference to bring potential contributors into dialogue.

Papers given at the conference might address, although need not be limited to, the following areas:

• Representations of clinical spaces and architectures
• Narrative representations of psycho-medical personnel
• Health care and contemporary feminisms
• Illness narratives and life-writing studies, including autofiction
• Illness metaphors and aesthetics
• Anti-racism work and dismantling white supremacy in healthcare
• Queerness and psycho-medical institutions
• (A)sexuality and pleasure in healthcare
• Trans health representation and rights
• Intersex healthcare, representation, politics, and art
• Navigating illness representation on social media
• Female agency in illness
• Reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth
• Wellness: the lure of cures for patriarchy and capitalism.
• Madness: gendered experiences of mental illness.
Period29 Jul 202131 Jul 2021
Event typeConference
LocationUnited KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Medical Humanities
  • Women Writers
  • pathographies
  • illness narratives
  • Trauma