CFP: Dynamics of Loneliness: Intersections of the Cultural, Social and Medical

Katja  Herges's picture
Call for Papers
September 14, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Women's & Gender History / Studies, German History / Studies

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research into Health and Illness at the University of Wroclaw welcomes proposals for contributions to the interdisciplinary conference "Dynamics of loneliness: Intersections of the Cultural, Social and Medical" from September 14-15, 2023. 

Loneliness is a multi-faceted phenomenon: It can function as exclusion from society, as discriminatory experience, and have impact on mental health. At the same time, it can have positive connotations, as individual experience of autonomy and freedom, as a source of creativity, contemplation, self-care and well-being. There is growing academic interest in loneliness, in particular, in response to the covid-19 pandemic. It is still unclear, however, not only what constitutes loneliness and its experience, but also what its workings are. To this effect, the organisers are looking to hold a conference devoted to discussions on loneliness as dynamic experience constructed in multiple medical, cultural, literary or philosophical discourses/contexts.

We intend the conference to be interdisciplinary. We welcome contributions of scholars working with a variety of disciplinary or theoretical perspectives, including but not limited to sociology, psychology, linguistics, literature, visual culture, media studies, and philosophy. Similarly, we welcome contributions from all literary or cultural contexts and from both established scholars and those only beginning their academic journeys.

The topics which we suggest for the event include but are not limited to (in no particular order):

- How is loneliness linked to spatiality and temporality? Where and when is loneliness experienced? Does loneliness have a beginning and an end?

- How is it linked to related concepts of being alone, being bored, or being isolated?

- What is the tension between loneliness and increased connection through digitalization and globalization?

- How is loneliness reflected and represented in literary, visual, digital and popular culture? Are there particular narrative strategies or aesthetics?

- Does loneliness have a gender?

- What is the relationship between loneliness and migratory and racialized experiences?

- How is loneliness part of experience of illness and/or disability?

- How is loneliness related to cultural and academic production (e.g., writing or painting)?

The conference will be free to attend. It will be an in-person conference with English as conference language. 

We cannot offer reimbursements for travel. However, if you are a graduate student wanting to attend the conference and need financial assistance, please contact us. We shall try to offer you university accommodation in Wroclaw. Priority will be given to students from lower-income countries. Please write to us at

The meeting will be held at the University of Wroclaw in the centre of the city. Wroclaw is in the southwest of Poland and has an international airport frequented by many major international airlines.

Please submit your abstracts by 31 March 2023 to

Contact Info: 

Katja Herges, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor 

Center for Interdisciplinary Research into Health and Illness

University of Wrocław


Contact Email: