Programme and Final Registration: ‘Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts’

Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts

University of Glasgow | Friday 11th September 2015

We have finalised the schedule and are counting down to the conference! Please download the schedule here.

We are really excited by the diversity of the attendees who have registered so far and by the range and standard of the research being presented. We still have a few spaces left so if you would like to register to attend (there is no fee for registration) then please download this Registration Form and email it to the us at In the meantime do follow us on Twitter @ParatextMatters.

Best wishes,

Hannah, Diane and Johanna
Conference Committee

CFP: ‘Religion and Medicine: Healing the Body and Soul from the Middle Ages to the Modern Day’, Birkbeck, London

Location: Birkbeck, University of London

15th – 16th July 2016

In the contemporary Western world, religion and medicine are increasingly separated, but through much of history they have been closely interrelated. This relationship has been characterised by some conflict, but also by a great deal of cooperation. Religious perspectives have informed both the understanding of and approaches to health and sickness, whilst religious personnel have frequently been at the forefront of medical provision. Religious organisations were, moreover, often at the heart of the response to medical emergencies, and provided key healing environments, such as hospitals and pilgrimage sites.

This conference will explore the relationship between religion and medicine in the historic past, ranging over a long chronological framework and a wide geographical span. The conference focus will be primarily historical, and we welcome contributions which take an interdisciplinary approach to this topic.

Convenors: Katherine HarveyJohn Henderson and Carmen Mangion.

Four main themes will provide the focus of the conference. The sub-themes are not prescriptive, but are suggested as potential subjects for consideration:

Healing the Body and Healing the Soul

  • Medical traditions: the non-natural environment and the ‘Passions of the Soul’.
  • Religious traditions (for example, the Church Fathers, sermons and devotional literature).

The Religious and Medicine

  • Medical knowledge and practice of religious personnel, including secular and regular clergy.
  • Nurses and nursing.
  • Medical practitioners, religious authorities and the regulation of medical activity and practice.

Religious Responses

  • Religious responses to epidemics, from leprosy to plague to pox and cholera.
  • Medical missions in Europe and the wider world.
  • Religion, humanitarianism and medical care.

Healing Environments and Religion

  • Religious healing/ miracles/ pilgrimage.
  • Institutional medical care (including hospitals, dispensaries and convalescent homes).

Proposals, consisting of a paper abstract (no more than 300 words) and a short biography (no more than 400 words), should be submitted via email by 30th October 2015. We will to respond to proposals by early December. For more information please visit our website, and follow us on Twitter.

Registration Open: ‘Connecting Minds – Arts and Dementia’, Liverpool

On behalf of Liverpool John Moores University medical humanities group:

Liverpool John Moores University is delighted to announce a symposium on ‘Connecting Minds – Arts and Dementia’.

This symposium will be held on Friday 4th September 2015, 9.00-17.00, at Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, 4th Floor Events Suite.

The ‘Connecting Minds’ symposium is intended to encourage dialogue and collaboration between academics, arts and healthcare professionals, service users, and the wider public, and to pursue research interests and public engagement in relation to arts and dementia. Our list of speakers include Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health; Linda Grant, Booker-nominated author of Remind Me Who I Am, Again (1998); and Jill Pendleton, Dementia lead for Merseycare.

A series of talks from the speakers will take place in the morning of the symposium; the afternoon session will consist of a research café (structured discussion of key questions around open tables) and ‘Sand Tray’ (an object and memory-based creative activity) in parallel.

The event will be assessed in partnership between the disciplines by researchers who are trained in evaluation, with input from people living with dementia and their carers.

Registration: please visit

Registration and other queries, please email

£30 per delegate, including tea, coffee, and refreshments. Free for dementia stakeholders.

CFP: The Symposium of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University

Date: Wednesday 16th December 2015

Time: 9:30am–2:30pm

Place: EDEN Arbour room, Liverpool Hope University, UK

The Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS) is the institutional base for the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (Liverpool University Press) and the book series Literary Disability Studies (Palgrave Macmillan). Given that the journal is approaching its 10th anniversary and the series is about to publish its 1st run of books, the CCDS will now endeavour to sustain this progress in the field by hosting the Symposium of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. This is a unique opportunity to explore and exchange new ideas about literary and cultural representations and theories of disability.

The symposium will include 8-10 presentations that will be allocated 10-15 minute slots.

Proposals of 150-200 words should be sent to on or before 30th September 2015. Note that late submissions cannot be accepted as paper proposals will be peer-reviewed externally.

For further information please contact Dr. David Bolt.


Postal address: Faculty of Education, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK, L16 9JD.

Registration open: ‘Materialities of Care: Encountering Health and Illness through Objects, Artefacts, and Architecture’, York

The provisional programme is now available for the event: ‘Materialities of care: encountering health and illness through objects, artefacts, and architecture’. Places are still available, although two day registrations are limited and may run out soon, registration closes 7th September.

Dates: 16th and 17th September 2015
Location: Berrick Saul Building, University of York

‘Materialities of care’ is a two day event organised by the Universities of York and Leeds, exploring the role of material culture within health and social care. It addresses how everyday artefacts (such as objects, dress, interiors and architecture) can mediate practices, identities and embodied experiences of health and illness. The event will draw together researchers from across disciplines, including sociology, history, archaeology, architecture, geography and museum studies.  This event is supported by funding from Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness.


Provisional programme

Day 1

9:30- 10:00 Arrivals and registration with tea and coffee
10:00-10:10 Welcome and Introduction
10:10- 11:10 Keynote: Michael Schillmeier (University of Exeter)

‘What is at Hand?’ The Materiality of Care


Break, tea and coffee

11:25- 12:40 Objects, interiors and institutions

Jane Hamlett (Royal Holloway University of London), ‘Material Culture and Patient Experience at Bethlem, 1870-1910’

 Ruth Holliday (University of Leeds), ‘Clinical Interiors: Exploring transnational Décor in medical tourism’

Karina Croucher (University of Bradford), ‘Continuing bonds, then and now: archaeology meets end of life care’

12:40-1:30 Lunch and viewing poster presentations
1:30-2:45 Materialities, bodies and care

Christina Buse (University of York) and Julia Twigg (University of Kent), ‘Memories materialized: exploring the narratives of people with dementia through dress’

Mary Madden (University of Leeds), ‘Mundane technologies and magic dressings: Exploring the materialities of ‘advanced’ wound care’

Julie Ellis  (University of Sheffield), ‘Families, Food and End of life’

2:45-3:00 Break, tea and coffee
3:00-4:15 Places, spaces and architecture

Sarah Nettleton and Daryl Martin (University of York),  ‘Architects conceptions of bodies in the context of residential care for later life’

Myles Gould (University of Leeds), ‘Therapeutic landscapes: Materializing the spaces of care?’

Sarah Wigglesworth (University of Sheffield), ‘Independence or institution? What the DWELL project* has learned about housing with care.’

4:15-5:15 Plenary panel

  • ·         Julia Twigg (University of Kent)
  • ·        David Bell (University of Leeds)
  • ·        Eleanor Casella (University of Manchester)
  • ·        Karen Throsby (University of Leeds)
5:15 – 5:25 Closing comments and presentation of poster prize

*DWELL: Designing for Wellbeing in Environments for Later Life, University of Sheffield, UK.

Day 2:

10:00-10:30 Introductions, mixer – sharing research interests

Interactive workshops – parallel sessions

Methodologies for capturing sensory and material encounters

Richard Ward (University of Stirling) and Sarah Campbell (University of Manchester)

Researching the effects of object encounters

Helen Chatterjee (University College London)

11:30- 11:45 Break, tea and coffee
11:45- 12:45 Future directions and plans
12:45- 1:30       Lunch and networking



Day 1 only: £20 delegate fee, £10 for students and concessions
Full event fee (conference Day 1, workshop Day 2): £25, £15 for students and concessions.

Register at:

For any queries please contact or

For further information please go to: or

CFP:’Asylums, Pathologies, and the Themes of Madness’, Patrick McGrath Symposium, Stirling, January 2016

Asylums, Pathologies and the Themes of Madness: Patrick McGrath and his Gothic Contemporaries

University of Stirling, Scotland

Saturday 16th January 2016

Keynote Event

  • During the symposium we will be delighted to invite speakers and attendees to view exhibits from the newly acquired Patrick McGrath archive at the University of Stirling’s library.

Keynote Speakers

  • Professor Lucie Armitt, University of Lincoln – author of Twentieth-Century Gothic (University of Wales Press, 2011)
  • Professor Sue Zlosnik, Manchester Metropolitan University – author of Patrick McGrath(University of Wales Press, 2011)

Modern and contemporary Gothic is widely recognised as a literature of madness. Many of the mode’s key writers – including Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk and several notable others – are consistently preoccupied with psychopathology, perversion and the divided self. This first British symposium dedicated to exploring Patrick McGrath’s fiction, writing and life, seeks to capitalise upon a growing recognition that he is one of the leading purveyors of the contemporary tale of psychological terror and horror. An important contribution to English letters as a whole, McGrath’s fiction has been noted as parodic (The Grotesque, 1989), psychologically disturbing (Spider, 1990), and darkly sexual (Asylum, 1996). In her full-length study Patrick McGrath, Sue Zlosnik has suggested that in his fiction an “inclination towards Gothic excess remains in tension with a sceptical and ironic sensibility” (2011, p.5). By disentangling this and many other tensions and intertextual resonances that may be relevant, we seek to both pose and investigate important questions regarding McGrath’s place in the field of contemporary Gothic studies and assess his intricate – yet at times grotesque – stagings of asylums, psychopathology, and trauma.

We invite 20-minute papers from postgraduate, early-career and established scholars on any topic related to McGrath’s life, fiction and his contemporary context. Suggested topics include – but are not limited to – the following:

  • Pathologies and madness in McGrath or the contemporary Gothic (for instance, in the novels of Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, Michel Faber, etc.)
  • The asylum as staged in McGrath’s fiction and non-fiction (e.g. the Broadmoor influence) or in the contemporary Gothic more widely
  • Theorizing and staging psychopathologies in the Gothic
  • The continuing import of McGrath’s edited collection The New Gothic (1991)
  • McGrath’s unreliable narrators and his narrative technique
  • Gothicized adultery
  • Trauma theory and the contemporary Gothic
  • The supposed turn from parody to realism in McGrath’s novels
  • Gothic metafiction
  • Archival research that investigates the production of the contemporary Gothic text
  • Adaptations of McGrath’s work
  • Notable influences – from Edgar Allan Poe to John Hawkes – upon McGrath’s aesthetic

As part of the day’s programme, we are delighted to invite speakers and attendees to view exhibits from the newly acquired McGrath archive at the University of Stirling’s library. Donated by the author himself, the wealth of materials in this emerging collection include novel drafts, notebooks, automatic writing, film scripts and a complete set of first editions of his work.

Proposals of around 250 words for 20-minute papers – or suggestions for three-person panels – should be submitted to Dr Matt Foley on by Friday 16th October 2015. Please also include a brief biography.



Panel Discussion, Edinburgh: ‘Autism in the Spotlight: opportunities for autistic people on and off the stage’

Thursday 27th August 2015, 6-7.30pm

50 George Square (Project Room 1.06), Edinburgh

SARG and Access All Areas Theatre Company present a panel discussion: ‘Autism in the Spotlight: opportunities for autistic people on and off the stage’

Access All Areas Theatre Company have an exciting new one-man show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe: in ‘The Misfit Analysis’, Cian Binchy uses multimedia, video and performance poetry to explore and to challenge preconceptions of what it means to be autistic.

Performer Cian and artistic director Nick Llewellyn will join SARG organisers Sue Fletcher-Watson and Katie Cebula (University of Edinburgh) for a discussion exploring current themes in research and practice around the performing arts and autism: ‘theory of mind’ and story-telling in autism; accessibility in the performing arts; and the role of ‘relaxed performance’ for autistic children and adults. A segment of Misfit Analysis will also be shown.

Tickets for this panel discussion are free, but places are limited and must be booked in advance by emailing

CFP: Special Issue of Journal of Social Philosophy, ‘Reshaping the Polis: Toward a Political Conception of Disability’

Reshaping the Polis: Toward a Political Conception of Disability

Guest edited by Shelley Tremain, Ph.D.

Submissions are cordially invited to be considered for a special issue of Journal of Social Philosophy on the theme of Reshaping the Polis: Toward a Political Conception of Disability. Feminist philosophers and theorists have successfully shown that the elimination of women’s subordination requires that conceptions of the social and political realms be reconfigured in ways that take into account subjectivity, embodiment, partiality, and other phenomena historically associated with women and femininity and thus excluded from understandings of these realms. Likewise, this issue of JSP aims to reshape (and enlarge) accepted understandings of what counts as the political domain in ways that emerging understandings of disability demand.

Some of the questions that contributions to the issue might address are:

  • What are the relations between current conceptions of the political realm, inaccessibility, and neoliberal agendas?
  • How do the incarceration and segregation of disabled people in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and prisons extend the reach of biopolitical forms of power, including settler colonialism and heteronormativity?
  • In what ways can disabling epistemologies of ignorance and acts of epistemic injustice be most effectively resisted and transformed?
  • How are ableism and disability discrimination reproduced by and through current immigration, housing, education, and employment policies?

Confirmed invited contributions:

  • Tommy Curry, “This Nigger’s Broken: Hyper-Masculinity, ‘The Buck,’ and the Impossibility of Physical Disability in the Black Male Body”
  • Maeve O’Donovan, “Resisting Disability: How Misconceptions of Disability Generate Failed Policies”
  • Jesse Prinz, “Outsider Art, Inside”
  • Melanie Yergeau and Bryce Huebner, “Minding Theory of Mind”

Please send papers directly to the journal’s Managing Editor, Josh Keton, at  Submissions should be prepared for anonymous review, no longer than 25 pages (double-spaced, in a standard 12 point font, including endnotes and references).  More information about the Journal of Social Philosophy (including author guidelines) can be found here.

The deadline for receipt for consideration for this special issue is 1st November 2015. (Papers not included in this special issue may also be considered for future issues of the journal.)  For further information, please email Shelley Tremain at

CFP: Panel on Pre-Modern Disabilities at Society for French Studies Conference, University of Glasgow, June 2016

Panel title: “Pre-modern Disabilities: Ambiguous Bodies, Texts, and Meanings”

Organiser: Alicia Spencer-Hall, French Dept., Queen Mary, University of London

In the last decade or so, pre-modern disability studies has emerged as a productive and important field of enquiry for scholars from a host of disciplines, including literary studies, history and sociology. The fallacy of any monolithic form of disability has been incisively critiqued by academics unpacking the specific historical context(s) of pre-modern narratives which feature disabled bodies. This represents a welcome dismantling of a paradigm of disability which continues to influence discussions of modern disability, whether these discussions take place in the academy or in the mass media and public consciousness.

The meaning accorded to being disabled by dominant society, and by the individuals living with disabilities themselves, is not fixed. Rather, what a given impairment “says about” a subject shifts according to multiple factors: gender, ethnicity, socio-cultural situation, historical moment and so on. Narratives showing disabled bodies, the attitudes of others to such marked bodies, and the disabled subject’s own intellectual and affective stance to his/her body, are not inert or solely reflective of “real life”. Rather, such narratives work to shape identities of those to which they speak, giving the disabled and non-disabled alike ways in which they might formulate a response to impairment in their lives.

Impairment demands a response, as disability demonstrates the precariousness of “whole” or “normal(ised)” bodies. The non-disabled must thus take a stance in relation to the destabilising potentiality that the impaired body represents to abled society and culture. Often times, though certainly not always, responses fall between othering of the disabled body, enacting distance, or a fetishisation of the disabled body, a closeness which titillates because it is transgressive.  Reactions to disability are ambiguous just as much as disability itself represents an ambiguous state, defined by a host of socio-cultural, ideological, and historical factors.

This panel brings methodological and theoretical approaches from pre-modern disability scholarship into the French context. “French”, in this case, refers to both geographical area (i.e. France as a region) and linguistic identity (i.e. francophone texts produced outside of France). How do French pre-modern texts deal with disability? Can we discern a specific approach to disability used by French authors, or in francophone texts? What kinds of meanings are given to disabled bodies? What kind of language is used to describe disabled bodies, and how does this language mould reader responses? What kind of narratives are offered to the disabled, and why?

Relevant topics for this session include:

  • Differences between pre-modern and contemporary understanding of disabilities
  • Linguistic choices for denoting disabilities, and the ways in which such choices shape readers’ attitudes, in both modern and pre-modern periods
  • Reactions of readers to disabled characters in narratives, and reactions of those around a disabled character in the text
  • Social constructions of disability and their contexts, including permutations relating to specific locales, politics, ideologies
  • Differences between interpretations of disabilities in religious (e.g. saints) and more secular (e.g. wounded knights) frameworks
  • Differences in depictions of invisible and visible impairments
  • The ways in which French pre-modern texts can contribute to developing the field of pre-modern disability studies

If you’re interested in speaking on this panel, please submit an abstract of roughly 250-300 words anda brief bio, containing your postal address. Deadline for submissions: 1 September 2015. Please email your abstract and bio to the panel organiser, Alicia Spencer-Hall (

Registration Open: ‘Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts’, 11 Sept 2015

Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts

Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Lilybank Gardens

University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ

9am-6pm, Friday 11 September 2015

Registration is open for ‘Dissecting the Page: Medical Paratexts’ conference, to be hosted by the University of Glasgow on  Friday 11 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 this Registration Form and email it to the conference committee at  In the meantime do follow us on Twitter @ParatextMatters, and follow 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, or contact us via @ParatextMatters. We look forward to welcoming you to Glasgow!