DRF News

CFP: Gothic Studies special issue on ‘Gothic and Medical Humanities’

Proposals are invited for a special issue of Gothic Studies exploring intersections between the Gothic and medical humanities.

Gothic Studies has long grappled with suffering bodies, and the fragility of human flesh in the grip of medical and legal discourse continues to be manifest in chilling literature and film. The direction of influence goes both ways: Gothic literary elements have arguably influenced medical writing, such as the nineteenth-century clinical case study. In this second decade of the twenty-first century, it seems apt to freshly examine intersections between the two fields.

The closing years of the twentieth century saw the emergence of medical humanities, an interdisciplinary blend of humanities and social science approaches under the dual goals of using arts to enhance medical education and interrogating medical practice and discourse. Analysis of period medical discourse, legal categories and medical technologies can enrich literary criticism in richly contextualising fictional works within medical practices. Such criticism can be seen as extending the drive towards historicised and localised criticism that has characterised much in Gothic studies in recent decades.

Our field offers textual strategies for analysing the processes by which medical discourse, medical processes and globalised biotechnological networks can, at times, do violence to human bodies and minds – both of patient and practitioner. Cultural studies of medicine analyse and unmask this violence. This special issue will explore Gothic representations of the way medical practice controls, classifies and torments the body in the service of healing.

Essays could address any of the following in any period, eighteenth-century to the present:

  • Medical discourse as itself Gothic (e.g., metaphors in medical writing; links between case histories and the Gothic tradition), and/or reflections on how specific medical discourses have shaped Gothic literary forms
  • Illness narratives and the Gothic (e.g., using Arthur Frank’s ‘chaos narratives’ of helplessness in The Wounded Storyteller).
  • Literary texts about medical processes as torture/torment in specific historical and geographic contexts (including contemporary contexts)
  • Doctors or nurses represented in literature as themselves Gothic ‘victims’, constrained by their medical environment
  • Genetic testing; organ harvest; genetic engineering; reproductive technologies; limb prostheses; human cloning, and more.

 To date the links between Gothic and psychiatric medical discourse have been the most thoroughly explored, so preference will be given to articles exploring other, non-psychiatric medical contexts in the interests of opening up new connections.

Please email 500-word abstract and curriculum vitae to Dr Sara Wasson, s.wasson@napier.ac.uk.

Deadline for proposals: 1 October 2013.

The official journal of the International Gothic Studies Association considers the field of Gothic studies from the eighteenth century to the present day. The aim of Gothic Studies is not merely to open a forum for dialogue and cultural criticism, but to provide a specialist journal for scholars working in a field which is today taught or researched in almost all academic establishments. Gothic Studies invites contributions from scholars working within any period of the Gothic; interdisciplinary scholarship is especially welcome, as are readings in the media and beyond the written word.

For more information on Gothic Studies, including submission guidelines and subscription recommendations, please see the journals website.

To view Gothic Studies online, see here.  To sign up to alerts for Gothic Studies, see here.

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DRF News

Call for Papers: ‘Disability and the Gothic’ Edited Volume

The relationship between disability and the Gothic, as Martha Stoddard Holmes rightly observes, has been undertheorized by scholars of the genre. This is surprising, given the intensity with which the Gothic has historically explored and exploited the prejudices associated with human difference as manifested in physiological and mental deviations from a perceived norm.

The proposed volume, which will be presented within the established International Gothic Series, published by Manchester University Press, will explore the uses and abuses of disability in Gothic fiction from the eighteenth century to the present, and will advance a genuinely international and multicultural analysis of this neglected aspect of Gothic stylistics. We particularly welcome papers that discuss Gothic textuality beyond the established European and American canon.

Issues which might be explored by contributors could include (but are not limited to):

  • Abject bodies                                           
  • Human vivisection
  • Amputation                                            
  • Leprosy
  • Birth defects
  • Mental illness
  • Body Integrity
  • Phantom limbs
  • Body modification                                  
  • Pigmentation variations
  • Branding and scarification                    
  • Post-apocalyptic bodies
  • Conjoined siblings                                  
  • Prostheses
  • Corrective surgery                                  
  • Queer bodies
  • Degeneration                                          
  • Ritual disfigurement
  • Hermaphroditism                                  
  • Supernumerary limbs
  • Hospital culture                                      
  • Zoomorphism

Proposals of approximately 500 words should be sent to the editors by 30 September 2013.  The editors are: William Hughes (Department of English, Bath Spa University, UK) email w.hughes@bathspa.ac.uk and Andrew Smith (School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, University of Sheffield, UK) email andrew.smith1@sheffield.ac.uk.

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If you are interested in this, you might also be interested in…

Call For Papers for Precarious Positions ~ Encounters with Normalcy – 4th Annual International Conference ***Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane*** 3rd + 4th September 2013 at Sheffield Hallam University can be found here.

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