Call for papers for the 1st “Health, illness and recovery in literature and media” conference, 4-5 August 2021

Keynote Speaker: C.A. DeCoursey

Abstract Due Date: Monday 5 July 2021


This conference brings together academics, researchers, educators, artists and others from a wide variety of fields, for a collaborative, multidisciplinary and humanistic exploration of these fundamental aspects of the human experience. All abstracts are peer-reviewed. Themes and issues for the conference include, but are not limited to:


Stream A: Health and illness in literature and the media

Issues of health, fitness, illness and recovery are found throughout literature, film, television and other media. They shape plots and characters, print and online news stories, online debates and television programs and fanfiction. They reflect and drive social issues, mediate our self-understanding, raise ethical questions, and represent significant life experiences, problems and solutions. They are forces shaping our lifestyles and habits, social practices, debates and policy discussions. We welcome papers on topics including, but not limited to: the representation of health, fitness, illness or recovery in literature, filmic, television or media representations; the verbal and visual constituents of health, fitness, illness or recovery in those representations; any ethical, legal or social implications raised by these; the creation, depiction or problematising of issues, identities, values and understandings in these; the ways these representations shape our lifestyles, habits, practices and interactions.


Stream B: Compassion in literature and the media

The pandemic has made us aware of the salience of compassion in situations of illness and healthcare. Representations of compassion for the ill are found throughout literature, film, television and other media. How is compassion represented, verbally and visually? How are its operations and effects understood, in literature, film, television and the media? Can literature and the media help people learn, and learn to practice empathy? What are the barriers to doing this? How can we teach compassion, using literature and the media?


Stream C: Recovery in literature and the media


Every person experiences illness. The pandemic has made us aware of our hopes for patient recovery. How is this process represented, in literature and the media? What are the emotional, intellectual, psychosocial and other aspects of recovery? In what ways do literature and the media reveal the internal realities of the patient, and the attendant experiences of friends and family? Can we use depictions of recovery in teaching patients to handle their struggles, and aspire to wellness? Can we use these representations to teach others how to help them?


Stream D:  data analytics and the pandemic

In order to find out how the pandemic is impacting students, we are soliciting papers from teachers, lecturers and professors. These papers ask use structured interviews, and evaluate the data with content analysis software. Conference participants interested in cooperating with this effort will publish papers in a journal special issue with HEDRA advisory board members.  If you are interested in this, please click here.


The conference welcomes abstracts from academics, educators, practitioners, researchers and others working in the humanities, social sciences, healthcare, and other fields connected to the topics the conference focuses on. Participants will be able to watch a plenary session, and participate in a live-stream roundtable, and a conference roundtable discussions.


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