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CFP: ‘Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts, Medieval to Modern’ edited collection

From Christina Lee and Freya Harrison’s discovery of the MRSA-combatting properties of an Anglo-Saxon recipe, to the increasing popularity of Ian Williams’ Graphic Medicine as a teaching tool for medical students, current research into the intersections between medicine, text, and image is producing dynamic and unexpected results (Thorpe: 2015; Lee and Harrison: 2015; Taavitsainen: 2010; Couser: 2009; Cioffi: 2009; Díaz-Vera: 2009). Recent years have seen conferences on paratextual research, and a range of events orientated around literature and medicine. The purpose of this edited collection is to open up wider scholarship into medical paratexts, spanning pragmatics, literary studies, and the medical humanities.

We propose that the breadth of research into medical book history in the medieval and early-modern period will prompt productive and innovative overlaps with work on modern medical paratexts. We understand paratext as the apparatus of graphic communication: title pages, prefaces, illustrations, marginalia, and publishing details which act as mediators between text and reader. Discussing the development of medical paratexts across scribal, print and digital media, from the medieval period to the twenty-first century, the collection will be provisionally structured in three chronological sections: Anglo-Saxon and Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern periods.

We are now looking for academics, artists, and medical professionals to submit abstracts on topics pertaining to medical paratexts. We invite proposals on topics that include (but are not limited to):

• the role of the medical preface
• graphic medicine in popular culture
• medicine, illness, and/or disability and graphic novels
• the development and role of medical (and medicalised) illustrations
• the advertising and placement of texts depicting medicine/illness/disability
• the development of paratext in medical texts from script to print
• the use and readers of medical texts
• auto/biography and medicine
• online medical writing, publishing, and paratexts

We have received initial interest from Palgrave Macmillan about the proposal, and intend to submit a full proposal for a Palgrave Pivot edited collection of approximately 40,000 words. Key benefits of the Pivot model include publication within three months of acceptance of final manuscripts, flexible length, peer review, and availability in e-book and hardback formats.

• The provisional timeline for the collection is as follows:
• January: deadline for abstracts (500-700 words)
• May: first drafts of articles submitted to editors (4000-4500 word chapters)
• June: article drafts returned with comments
• August: final proofs submitted to Palgrave
• December: publication of edited collection.

Please email an abstract of 500-700 words and a short bio to the conference organisers (Dr Hannah Tweed and Dr Diane Scott) at medicalparatexts@gmail.com by Sunday 10th January 2016. We will respond with decisions on chapters by the end of January 2016.

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Registration open – ‘Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts’ conference (Sept 2015: Glasgow, UK)

From the conference organising committee…

Registration is open for ‘Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts’ conference, to be hosted by the University of Glasgow on  Friday 11th Sept 2015.

Thanks to funding from the Wellcome Trust, there is no fee to attend the conference, but if you wish to attend then please download the registration form and email it to the conference committee: atmedicalparatexts@gmail.com.

In the meantime do follow us on Twitter @ParatextMatters, and see our website.

This interdisciplinary conference draws together two emerging and complementary areas of research in the medical humanities: book history (as it pertains to medical texts), and the study of medical paratexts. We understand paratext as the apparatus of graphic communication: title pages, prefaces, illustrations, marginalia, and publishing details which act as mediators between text and reader. Discussing the development of medical paratexts across scribal, print and digital media, from the medieval period to the twenty-first century, the conference will take place on Friday 11 September 2015 at the University of Glasgow.

From Christina Lee and Freya Harrison’s discovery of the MRSA-combatting properties of an Anglo-Saxon recipe, to the increasing popularity of Ian Williams’ Graphic Medicine as a teaching tool for medical students, current research into the intersections between medicine, text, and image is producing dynamic and unexpected results (Thorpe: 2015; Taavitsainen: 2010; Couser: 2009; Cioffi: 2009; Díaz-Vera: 2009). With this conference, our keynote speakers will encompass collections-based approaches to medical humanities research (Prof. Jeremy Smith); the use of modern medical knowledge to inform medieval material research (Dr Deborah Thorpe); and creative approaches to medical humanities and contemporary medical practice. Recent years have seen several conferences and publications on paratextual research, and a range of events orientated around literature and medicine, but there is little crossover between the two fields. We propose that the breadth of research into medical book history in the medieval and early-modern period will prompt productive and innovative overlaps with work on modern medical paratexts and graphic novels. By focusing exclusively on medical paratexts, our aim is to establish an interdisciplinary network of scholars interested in graphic communication and medical practice. In addition to our keynote speakers and roundtable discussion, Glasgow’s Special Collections department have agreed to curate a display of medical marvels, medieval to modern, to coincide with the conference, introduced by Dr Bob McLean.

The conference venue, the Sir Alwyn Williams Building, is fully accessible. If you have any questions, please email the organising committee (Dr Hannah Tweed, Dr Diane Scott, and Dr Johanna Green) at medicalparatexts@gmail.com, or contact us via @ParatextMatters. We look forward to welcoming you to Glasgow!