CFP, Workshop and Seminars


Conference Call For Papers: ‘Imperfect Children’

Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leicester, September 2013

A two day conference hosted by The Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leicester, 5th-7th September 2013.

The core focus of this conference will be the concept of ‘imperfection’ as it relates particularly to children. The word itself is contentious whether applied in a contemporary or historical sense. It assumes normative standards of behaviour, physical appearance, mental capacity or way of living, at the same time as it means very different things in particular ethnic, geographical or historical contexts. Applied to children who are constantly developing their intellectual and physical capacities, physical appearance and other attributes, it is particularly contentious. During the conference we wish to explore the concept and language of imperfection. This process might include discussion of mental or physical impairment; the ‘look’ of children; cosmetic surgery; biological or eugenic definitions of imperfection; community, familial and societal reactions to imperfection; childhood imperfection in literature and art; or the construction of feral youth in contemporary and historical populations. We also, however, want to look explicitly at some of the ‘imperfections’ themselves. These might include, but are not limited to:

  • Mental or physical impairment
  • Physical appearance, and the desire to ‘improve’ children
  • Learning development
  • ‘Bad’ character and criminality
  • The manufacturing of child identity in different cultures and historical contexts
  • Children and the capacity to work or play
  • Diagnosing and correcting imperfection

It is anticipated that some of the papers will have an historical focus or will link historical data/perception with twenty-first century concerns. In this context we regard ‘history’ as anything beyond the last decade! Our definition of children runs from conception (and the desire to create the perfect child) through to age sixteen. We hope that the conference will attract interest across the spectrum from History, Archaeology, Art History and English through the social sciences and to biological and engineering or physical sciences.

Suggestions for papers/themed sessions or queries should be addressed to or to Steven Taylor / Steven King at the Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leicester by February 2013. We expect to publish the papers.



Public lecture: Dr Michael Lee, ‘How the brain is wired for pain’

University of Durham, 18th October 2012

Calman Main Lecture Theatre (Durham University, City campus, DH1 3LE)

Thursday 18th October
6.30pm for a 7pm start
No booking necessary

How subjective is the experience of pain, and how does it ultimately emerge from the brain?

Dr Lee will explain the key difference between nociception (biological process that signals potential or actual physical injury) and pain (defined as a conscious experience), and that nociception is not necessary or sufficient for pain.

Together with real-life examples from his brain imaging research, he will show us how we can reinterpret or regulate the biological signal for better or worse.

Dr Lee is a Consultant in Pain Management who works in the Pain Imaging Neuroscience Group at The University of Oxford.

Approved by The Royal College of Anaesthetists for 1 CPD point.


Workshop: ‘Experimental entanglements in cognitive neuroscience’

Berlin, 25th-26th October 2012

The University of Durham’s ‘Centre for Medical Humanities’ blog post ‘Medical humanities and cognitive neuroscience: trandisciplinary openings and endeavours’, explored how several people at/associated with the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham (CMH) are interested in grappling with how the medical humanities as a domain can productively engage not only with the interpretation of science that is being pursued in fields close to medicine, but in its production.

As part of this exploration, I am co-organizing a 2-day, transdisciplinary workshop in Berlin this October that focuses on the experimental settings of cognitive neuroscientific experiments — particular as regards the relations between researcher and research subject. CMH Affiliate Charles Fernyhough is one of the guest speakers, and CMH Staff member Angela Woods is a chair and rapporteur. We welcome delegates to the first day of this workshop (see details regarding registration below).

Experimental entanglements in cognitive neuroscience, Berlin, 25th-26th October 2012

Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung, Lentzeallee 94, 14195, Berlin

Funded by the European Platform for Life Sciences, Mind Sciences, and the Humanities, an Initiative of the VolkswagenStiftung

Guest speakers:

Aikaterini (Katerina) Fotopoulou

Andreas Roepstorff

Charles Fernyhough

Daniel Margulies

Jan Slaby

Jill Morawski

Jonathan Smallwood

Leonhard Schilbach

Lisa Blackman

Russell Hurlburt

“Can social scientists and neuroscientists think collaboratively about research subjects’ own assessments of their mental processes in the course of an experiment? Will this tell us anything about the ‘social’ nature of all experiments, in both design and interpretation? And can these questions be pursued through experiment, and not just discourse? By using the phrase ‘experimental entanglement’, we signal a desire to entangle ourselves with, and diffract our ideas through, some other science; we aim to show that calling attention to these questions, and doing experiments, do not have to be mutually exclusive practices.”

Programme committee: 

Felicity Callard, Medical Humanities

Des Fitzgerald, Sociology

Simone Kühn, Cognitive Neuroscience

Ulla Schmid, Philosophy

An ‘Intersubjectivity interrupted’ workshop with:

Joel Krueger

Josephine Lenssen

Amanda Taylor Aiken

Participation is free, but spaces are strictly limited. The workshop is open only on October 25. (On October 26, the speakers and convenors go into a closed session.)

If you would like further information, or to register to attend on 25 October, please contact: Des Fitzgerald and/or Felicity Callard.

Please include your name, position, affiliation, email and 1–2 sentences on why you would like to attend.

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