Embodied Voices: Phenomenological, Hermeneutical, and Psychoanalytic Approaches to Health

February 26, 2021 - February 28, 2021

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We invite abstracts for papers that look at how health and disease have been treated in phenomenology, hermeneutics, and psychoanalysis, and how these fields may help to improve upon the current methodologies employed in medicine. Special consideration will be given to abstracts engaging with topics related to “Health & Covid-19” and “Health & Racial Justice.” Medicine is taken here more broadly to mean the art of healing or of understanding various human conditions or ways of being alive (e.g., disorders, injuries, disabilities). Traditionally, Western medicine presupposes a strictly biological account of the body, largely ignoring other existential features of human life and thereby actually restricting its understanding of the body. Furthermore, it seems as though a certain flaw in Western medicine is its inability to admit a hermeneutical self-understanding of the patient into its diagnosis and treatment methods. Phenomenological approaches to the body are quite different in that they take the lived body and its diverse and complex experiences into account. Hermeneutical and psychoanalytic approaches differ in that they introduce an interpretive element into their epistemological framework.

Medicine and the concept of health have historically been used to stigmatize and disenfranchise women, people of color, people with disabilities, people with mental illnesses, LGBTQIA+ people, and other people considered to deviate from conceptions of normative health. The concepts of illness, health, and disease and the practice of medical diagnosis have historically been used as tools for expanding and perpetuating oppression of women and minorities. As such, we particularly encourage papers that consider how phenomenological, hermeneutical, and psychoanalytic approaches to the concept of health can serve as a means for enabling women and minorities to have their voices heard and contribute to the various social justice movements of the twentieth century and in a unique way in our own time.

Ultimately, then, how might the incorporation of embodied voices—whether this means giving an account of one’s illness, injury, or disability—widen, enrich, and improve our breadth of knowledge regarding human health and well-being in general, and how might giving those voices a platform also contribute to the philosophy of medicine in particular?The conference will be held remotely, on a virtual platform, and is open to the public. 

We invite paper abstracts (max. 500 words) on any topic related to the conference theme. Selected submissions will be allotted a presentation time of 15–20 minutes. Please prepare all submissions for blind review. Include all identifying information either as a separate cover sheet or in the body of your email. Identifying information should include the paper title and author’s name, email address, and institutional affiliation. Send submissions via email, as .doc or .pdf files, to gsipconference2021@gmail.com. Please direct any inquiries to gsipconference2021@gmail.com.

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February 26, 2021, 7:00am EST

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