Although one can fairly trace concern with the social determinants of health at least as far back as Ramazzini, in a very real sense, the contemporary versions of the field took critical shape in Canada with the release of the Lalonde Reportin 1974.
So, when scholars like Juha Mikkonen and Dennis Raphael author a brand-spanking-new report on the SDOH in Canada, one would be well-advised to hurry over to the websiteand download the report in its entirety. I have read (devoured?) it, and the report is nothing short of a tour de force. My highest recommendation.
Cripping Neoliberalism: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Governing and Imagining Dis/Ability and Bodily Difference
International interdisciplinary conference organized by Departments of Gender Studies and Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague
Dates: October 8-9, 2010 Proposal Deadline: June 20, 2010 Host: Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
The neoliberal reconfigurations (or dissolution) of ‘the social’ and the tendency to define the individual responsibility as the response to social issues have increasingly been challenged; predominantly, scholars have pointed out the overburdening impacts on the ‘private’ and supportive networks be it community, family or otherwise. Likewise, novel subjectivities emerging in response to the interpellation to manage one’s life and its risks responsibly (such as ‘the entrepreneurial self’, ‘the private self’ etc.) have been a subjected to critical discussion.
However, with few exceptions, the effects of neoliberalism have not been explored in their specific interactions with disability, nor have been their particular (dis/abling) effects on the lives of people with various forms of disabilities. Similarly unexplored remain historical contingencies of neoliberal forms of governance in relation to dis/ability and physical/psychical/mental/sensory difference.
Hence, this conference aspires to:
- Map out the ways in which neoliberal governance affects people with disabilities; - Explore how and in what ways disability is operationalised and in what ways compulsory ablebodiedness intersects with the (novel) forms of bio-power and bio-capitalisation of human life, or for redefinition of the ‘human’ as such; - Complicate the historical lineage of these neoliberal forms of power by both outlining rationalities and categories of differentiation that can be linked to the present neoliberal rationality, while at the same time looking for archaeology of other forms of imagination, categorisations and differentiations. - Lastly, we hope to engage in instigating discussion delineating the possible alliances between feminist, crip, queer, ethnic/racial as well as class critiques (as well as their possible conflicts) of neoliberalism and neoliberal governance. To this effect, we are planning to organise a roundtable discussion. We expressly wish to create a forum for an interdisciplinary exchange and invite papers from various fields of humanities and social sciences (cultural, literary and visual studies, history and history of arts, sociology, anthropology and other). Likewise, the intersectional perspective and papers exploring the neoliberal governance of disability in relation to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, and class are particularly called for.
We propose to centre the conference dialogues on the following themes and questions:
a) Neoliberal governance of the ‘disabled subject’
First, exploring the entanglements of the neoliberal governmentality with compulsory ablebodiedness, we call for papers discussing the specific effects these power relations have on people with disabilities. We hope for papers that would – for instance – explore the ways, in which neoliberal politics of privatisation affect people with disabilities; explore the forms of responsibilities which are being carved out in relation to one’s health and capability/ability, their somatic effects. Likewise, we invite critical reflections on the rationalities shaping the self/ ‘the disabled subject’; or papers outlining the challenges that the neoliberal discourse of diversity, individualised freedom of choice etc. presents for disability, crip as well as feminist, queer, multicultural/multiethnic politics and their agendas.
b) Neoliberal invocations of ‘disability’
Second, we encourage papers exploring the novel forms of biopolitics and their interactions with dis/ability. Possible issues to be addressed include: relations of biopolitics and bioeconomics; forms and rationalities of economies of vitality; new shapes of ‘valuable life’ and (economic) rationalities defining ‘quality of life’; novel rationalities of eugenics; neoliberal redefinition of care, intimacy, sexual ethics and interdependence. How does the neoliberal biopolitics shape the futural perspectives of ‘the human’ and of the (bodily) difference, or how does it shape the notions of the future as such?
c) Historical perspectives on knowledge and representation of bodily difference and extraordinary bodies Third, we open the call for historical perspective that would indicate genealogical lineage with the neoliberal forms of rationality, disciplination and/or identification as well as complicate this master narrative. In respect to both perspectives, we invite papers presenting and discussing various forms of early modern monster theories, teratology, commercialisation of freak shows, commodification of (bodily) difference, classification and/or typology of physical/psychical/mental/sensory difference, the ‘birth of the disabled subject’, rationalities of eugenic theories. Again, we are also interested in papers considering futural developments/imaginations of extraordinary bodies.
d) Alliances in cripping Neoliberalism: Roundtable discussion with keynote speakers discussing possible alliances (and/or conflicts) between various critical positions
Important information: Application Requirements: We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers related to one of the topics outlined in the CFP. Abstracts should be in English and should not exceed 300 words. Please include a brief biographical note of no more than 250 words outlining your current research interests, most recent publications, academic affiliation. Deadline for abstract submission: June 30, 2010 Notification: A committee will review applicants and notify candidates selected for participation by mid July 2010.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Organisation: Kateřina Kolářová, Lucie Storchová, and student support
There is no fee charge and we take care of your accommodation and catering during the conference! However, please note that travel funds can only be granted in exceptional cases and we ask participants to apply in time for travel funding at their home institutions.
The conference language is English. Please indicate your accessibility needs as well as any other possible requirements (childcare, dietary needs), we will do our best to meet them or get back to you to figure out what we can do. We kindly ask participants to let us know about applicable requirements or other special needs by June 20, 2010.
Enough sadness! At least in the U.S., historians of medicine are gearing up for the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine, which is being held at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The final program and meeting details are available on the AAHM website.
I have the distinct honor of presenting some of my work on the history of pain without lesion in 19th-century America, and am greatly looking forward to getting some good feedback from the audience. Friends of MH Blog are, as always, welcome to say hello.
I am particularly excited to hear the Garrison lecture this year, as Keith Wailoo will be speaking on -- you guessed it -- the politics of pain in the 1960s U.S.
Of course, I am utterly ignorant of the details surrounding this decision, but I am nevertheless stunned. I had the great fortune of visiting the Centre last July in connection with an unrelated conference at the Faculty of Laws at UCL, and I had hoped that my visit there was simply the first of several to follow in ensuing years. Alas, it is not to be, and while the history of medicine is undoubtedly healthy enough as a discipline to survive and flourish, it still feels like a tremendous loss, even from this side of the pond.
The Wellcome Collection and the Wellcome Library, which are separately maintained by the Wellcome Trust, will most likely continue (relatively?) unaffected by the decision to close the Centre.
Finally, to mark the closing, the Centre is hosting an international conference July 15-17, 2010.
Here is the text of the announcement with details of the conference, reprinted verbatim as it appeared on the Medieval Medicine listserv:
The Wellcome Trust and UCL have decided to close the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine and initiate a two year wind down, without a quinquennial peer review. This marks the end of the Centre, and its prior incarnation, the Academic Unit of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. The academic staff of the Centre would like to invite you to a three day international conference on the Future of Medical History, to take place on 15-17 July 2010 in London. In keeping with the research of the Centre and former Institute, contributions will be welcome on all aspects of medical history. Papers will be limited to 20 minutes each. Please send an abstract and contact details to Lauren Cracknell (email@example.com) by 1 June 2010. Due to current circumstances, the Centre will not be able to cover travel and accommodation. Please circulate this to your colleages and students.
Sonu Shamadasani Acting Director Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL Professor of Jung History
UPDATE, 4/16: Do see the comments below for further information. The official announcement is now posted at the WTCHOM website. And the Centre recently launched a new Friends of the WTCHOM Blog which I might hope would be quite active in the next few weeks and months.
UPDATE #2: While I obviously venture no claims as to accuracy, a seemingly well-informed commentator on the wonderful Corporeality blog provides further information regarding the future of the faculty (that many of them will simply be absorbed into the UCL Department of History), and suggests that the situation is not necessarily as bleak as might be surmised.
UPDATE #3: See the latest post at Corporeality, which contains a statement from the outreach historian at the Centre.
UPDATE #4: Although I generally dislike doing so, I have removed several comments, including one of my own. Concerned parties are welcome to communicate with me privately.
On Monday of this week one of the finest compendia of philosophy on the Web, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, released an entry on public health ethics. The entry is authored by Ruth Faden and Sirine Shebaya, is available full-text, and is worth reading in its entirety. I was particularly interested to read the authors' treatment of the dynamic interplay between population and public health, an issue that is central to my own research. An excerpt of this discussion:
Another issue that comes up in this connection is the following: are “public” and “population” interchangeable terms to designate the entity whose health we are concerned with? Is there a significant conceptual difference, a difference in moral valence, or a difference in attitude and orientation between public health ethics on the one hand, and population-level health ethics on the other? The literature presents three general ways of denoting the object of public health: community, the public, and populations. In one sense, the most morally laden manner of designating those who are subject to, and benefit from, public health measures, is to think about them as a community (Beauchamp & Steinbock 1999). Reference to “community” implies a uniform group, usually with a shared language, culture, history, and geographical location. Characterizing the concern of public health as being the health of the community renders more natural (and possibly more plausible) appeal to the common good as a way of justifying public health interventions. Reference to “the public” shares some of those same features but tends to be less morally laden. This is in part because “the public” is somewhat more anonymous than “the community” and does not necessarily signal a tight cultural connection. Rather, it connotes a relatively discrete unit with some common institutions and usually a shared political life. Thus, references to the public as well as to the community may encourage the perception that the good we are seeking to advance is that of a geographically bounded unit, with community connoting stronger cultural associations, and public connoting some kind of official political unit such as a state or a country.
Fascinating. I may have more to say in the near future.
The new history of medicine website of the Science Museum London has now been completed. In all it now presents 4000 new images of artefacts from the collections linked to 16 specialised themes on medicine across time, written by staff and other professional historians of medicine. Each theme is associated with bibliographies and interactives suitable for teaching at several levels.
The themes are:
Belief and medicine; Birth and death; Controversies and medicine; Diagnosis; Diseases and epidemics; Hospitals;Mental health and illness; Practising medicine; Public health;Science and medicine; Surgery;Technology and medicine; Medical traditions;Treatments and cures; Understanding the body; War and medicine
The Body on Display, from Renaissance to Enlightenment
An early-career symposium
6-7 July 2010
St Chad's College, Durham University
Keynote speaker: Dr. Peter Mitchell (University of Wales)
Monday 5 July
Informal meal and drinks
Tuesday 6 July
Registration and coffee
Dr. Lutz Sauerteig (Chair, SSHM)
Prof. Holger Maehle (Director, Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease, Durham University)
Filips Defoort (Leuven)
Jacob Boehme's (1575-1624) Depiction of Man's Hideous and Monstrous Animal-Like Body
Claire Bowditch (Loughborough)
'Lies, Dreams, and Fond Fantasies': Corporeality,
Desire, and the Early-Modern Hermaphrodite
Harriet Plafreyman (Warwick)
Faces of Disease: Images and the Display of Knowledge about Venereal Disease in the Late Eighteenth Century
Chair: James Russell
Elena Taddia (independent scholar)
Infant Corpses Exposed: Experimentations on Children's Bodies in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Europe
Armelle Sabatier (Paris, II)
Flesh v. Bones in Jacobean Drama: Displaying Human Corporeality in Tourneur's The Atheist's Tragedy
David Packwood (Warwick)
Specular Visuality and Artistic Self-Reflexivity in Pietro de Cortona's Drawings of the Tabulae Anatomicae of 1619
Richelle Munkhoff (Colorado)
Bodies into Text: Poor Women and the Reading of Corpses in Early Modern London
Chair: Sebastian Pranghofer
The Body Illustrated
Swarup Swaminathan (Harvard)
Anatomy, Art, and Aristotle: A Formal and Philosophical System of Reference in the Title Page of Vesalius' De Humana Corporis Fabrica
Sebastian Pranghofer (Durham)
Nature, Beauty and Truth: Early Modern Anatomical Illustrations of the Lymphatic System
Marieke Hendriksen (Leiden)
The Aesthetics of Eighteenth-Century Anatomy:
the Anatomical Illustrations of Petrus Camper (1722-1789) and the Hunter brothers (1718-1793)
David Martin (Goldsmiths)
The Sacred Cut: Exploring the Iconography of Renaissance Anatomical Woodcuts
Chair: Dr. Matthew D. Eddy
George Newberry (Sheffield)
The Senses and Sensitivity as Expressions of 'Racial' Difference in Eighteenth-Century Science and Anatomy
Lindsey Fitzharris (UCL)
'Beauty is only Skin-Deep': Fears Concerning Deformity and the Rising Importance of Surgeons in Restoration London
Antoine Roullet (Paris IV)
Corporal Mortification as Iconoclasm
Chair: Dr. Stefano Cracolici
Public Lecture, Dr. Peter Mitchell: "Shall I the Hearts un-equall sides explain...? Or, shall I rip the Stomachs hollowness...?" Representation and the literary associations of anatomy in the early seventeenth century.
Conference Dinner, Oldfields Restaurant
Wednesday 7 July
Masculinity on Display
Darren Wagner (York)
Hung, Dried, and Blown-Up: Male Genitalia in Late Seventeenth- and Early-Eighteenth-Century Anatomy and Physiology
Maya Corry (Oxford)
Ambiguously Gendered Bodies: Male Beauty and Self-Fashioning in Italian Renaissance Art and Thought
Natalie Awais-Dean (Queen Mary's)
Communicating Ideals: The Male Body Adorned in the Early Modern Period
Chair: Dr. Cathy McClive (Durham)
The Beautiful Body
Tom Blaen (Exeter)
'Not used to be worn as a jewel': Precious Stones - Ornament or Medicine?
Emma Markiewicz (National Archives)
Hair: The Appearance of Beauty and Well Being in Eighteenth-Century England
Elizabeth Upper (Cambridge)
Why is she Beautiful? Representations of Bodies and Garments in Albrecht Altdorfer's Bautiful Virgin of Regensburg (ca. 1519/20)
Chair: Sara Read
Lunch (provided) and visit to the rare books exhibition (Palace Green Library)
Public Bodies, Bodies and the Public
Vincent Van Roy (Antwerp)
Medical Sensation as an Advance in 'Public' Science? Representations of Body Pathologies in Medical Illustrations, Preparations and 'rariteytenkabinetten' (Cabinets of Strange Things) During the Early Modern Time (1500 - 1800)
Patrick Schmidt (Cambridge)
Advertising 'Disability': Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Freakshows and their Promotion in Contemporary Printed Media
Emily O'Brien (Trinity)
The Murdered Body on Display: Exposing the Truth in Early Modern Murder Pamphlets and Plays
Chair: Prof. Richard Maber
Remarks and reflections: Dr. Peter Mitchell
With an exhibition of rare printed books (Palace Green Library, Durham University)
An interdisciplinary early-career symposium kindly supported by the Society for the Social History of Medicine, the Royal Historical Society, the Centre for Seventeenth-Century Studies at Durham University, and Durham University Graduate School
While certain substantial moral dilemmas in health care have been given much attention, like abortion, euthanasia or gene testing, doctors rarely reflect on the moral implications of their daily clinical work. Yet, with its aim to help patients and relieve suffering, medicine is replete with moral decisions. In this qualitative study we analyse how doctors handle the moral aspects of everyday clinical practice. About one hundred consultations were observed, and interviews conducted with fifteen clinical doctors from different practices. It turned out that the doctors’ approach to clinical cases followed a rather strict pattern across specialities, which implied transforming patients’ diverse concerns into specific medical questions through a process of ‘essentialising’: Doctors broke the patient’s story down, concretised the patient’s complaints and categorised the symptoms into a medical sense. Patients’ existential meanings were removed, and the focus placed on the patients’ functioning. By essentialising, doctors were able to handle a complex and ambiguous reality, and establish a medically relevant problem. However, the process involved a moral as well as a practical simplification. Overlooking existential meanings and focusing on purely functional aspects of patients was an integral part of clinical practice and not an individual flaw. The study thus questions the value of addressing doctors’ conscious moral evaluations. Yet doctors should be aware that their daily clinical work systematically emphasises beneficence at the expense of others—that might be more important to the patient.
There are a number of important points to be drawn even from this short description. First, the reduction of ethics to what has been referred to as "disaster" or "quandary" ethics in applied settings impoverishes the discourse, IMO. Practicing how to live requires understanding of the deep ethical content in our daily lives, from moment-to-moment. It is not as if we simply flit around extra-normatively in general, and only need think about the good when and if a dilemma arises. This is partly why I tend to like virtue ethics, because if the good life is intimately connected to character, there is a continuity, a processual aspect to ethics that can unfortunately be obscured by a resolute focus on acts and principles.
(This is not to suggest preference for the latter implies disaster ethics, although it may facilitate it, IMO).
Second, the process of objectification which is at the core of the clinical gaze has unquestionably produced a host of social and individual goods, but it is not a free lunch. There is a significant dark side, one which can in many cases -- and some kinds of cases more than others -- result in the derogation of subjective experience, of the phenomenology of illness itself. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, and something I actively work on in a number of different ways.
Third, the process of objectification may itself be important at least in part because it reduces complexity and ambiguity to a more concrete, more manageable set of phenomena. But there may be some matters of great ethical content that are lost in the translation.
These comments are obviously brief and perhaps even cryptic, but a blog post is not really the proper medium for expanding upon them in fuller detail.
In any case, the article is highly recommended, and, even better, is available at this time full-text, open-access.
Nothing on this website constitutes legal, medical, or other professional advice.
In addition, nothing on this blog serves to create any kind of professional relationship whatsoever.
Disclaimer # 2
The opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the contributor, and are NOT representative in any way of East Carolina University as an institution, nor of any employees, agents, or representatives of East Carolina University.