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May 07, 2009

Call for Papers: Knowledge and Pain

In a subject especially near and dear to my heart (my dissertation is on the undertreatment of pain in the U.S.), I am pleased to note this Call for Papers on Knowledge and Pain:

Knowledge and Pain

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

May 24 - 26, 2010


Pain, physical or emotional, as a field of knowledge about suffering, is a subject of scholarly attention in the humanities and social sciences, in parallel with the scientific study of pain mechanisms and controls.

The conference Knowledge and Pain will be devoted to the voices of the sufferers (rather than to those of inflictors, healers, or managers of pain). Bypassing, as much as possible, the messages of professional mediators, it will focus on the light that sufferers themselves shed upon their condition through verbal or visual expression. The organizers of the conference welcome proposals that deal with the following

*         How does discourse function as an intermediary between
sufferer and listeners? Is pain destructive of language or does it merely challenge it?

*         How and in what contexts does body language communicate
suffering in different cultures and inter-culturally?

*         What social capital (if any) do sufferers gain from
communicating their pain?

*         Is pain exclusively destructive of the subject's world or can
it yield cognitive or spiritual gain?

*         Is it ethically problematic to ascribe meaning to pain beyond
its function as a symptom?

*         What are the relationships between physical and emotional

*         How are the media used to represent pain, and with what side

*         Do artistic representations of suffering improve our
understanding of the pain of another?

*         How does the voice of pain implicate the hearer?

A selection of papers based on the work of the conference will be published by an academic press.

Paper proposals of 300 to 500 words should be sent to msecohen@mscc.huji.ac.il by September 8, 2009.


Otniel E. Dror, MD, Ph D (History)

Joel Wilbush Chair in Medical Anthropology

Head, History of Medicine

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

(h/t H-MED-ANTHRO listserv)


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I look forward to reading your diss as soon as ProQuest archives it--I'm also interested in the academic study of pain.


I'll let you know when I see it on ProQuest. You are of course welcome to email me if you'd like to discuss the topic in more detail.

Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting.

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