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Medical Humanities: Social Construction of Illness, Disability, and Ageing, Section 2

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Organizer: Dr Pravin K Patel

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Medical/Health Humanities is an interdisciplinary approach to understand and explore not only the profound effects of illness and disease on people but also the social and cultural sphere of such people in which they live and work. It addresses the issues of narrative discourse, culture, gender, caste, sexuality, class, age, economic and bio-social issues with regard to health, illness, disability, and ageing. In this regard, the medical professionals and scholars like Rita Charon, Arthur Frank and Michael White have suggested “narrative medicine,” “telling stories” and “narrative-based therapy” respectively, which help in understanding the issues of trauma, depression, inter-subjectivity, methods of coping illness and like. However, to grapple with these issues, it needs to be studied in the social, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Poverty, lack of sufficient education, social divides of caste and gender, disability, lack of facilities and remote location of rural area, and other social determinants affect the health and wellbeing of people in India and around the world.

The conference explores the connections between society and illness/disability/ageing. It invites analytical and reflective approach to the prevailing health issues. It aims to bring the stories of and about illness, disease, disability and ageing, and transform them into narratives of justice and change by create awareness and sensitizes people. It educates about and resists social stigmatization and discrimination. It intends to reexamine the concepts and representation of health & wellbeing, disease & illness, disability & ageing in literature and popular culture, and explores the role of arts and humanities in reconstructing the possibilities of alternative medical care. The conference proposes to invite scholars from humanities and social sciences researching on health and wellbeing, disability, ageing, trauma studies along with doctors, medical researchers, health-care givers, and survivors/struggling individuals and their family members with a view to sharing stories and scholarly critical reflections.

a. The Conference opens several sub-topics but not limited to:

b. New Directions in Medical/Health Humanities

c. Relevance of Medical Humanities Today

d. Medical Humanities in the Age of Pandemic

e.Health Humanities’ Engagement with other Disciplines

f. Construction of Health, Illness, Disease, Disability, Ageing

g. Child and Adolescent Mental Illness

h. Representation of Bodies in Art and Visual Culture

i. Anthropological View of Culture and Health

j. Trauma Studies

k. Madness and Insanity

l. Patient Testimony and Ethics of Medicine

m. Illness as Narrative/Discourse

n. The Future of Medical/Health Humanities


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