The Politics of Health: 2020 International Health Humanities Consortium Conference

Marissa Potts's picture
March 26, 2020 to March 28, 2020
Tennessee, United States
Subject Fields: 
Health and Health Care, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Humanities, Political Science, Public Health


The Politics of Health
2020 International Health Humanities Consortium Conference 
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
March 26-28, 2020

Conference Chair: Jonathan M. Metzl
Conference Co-Chair: Manisha Mishra 


Call-for-papers now open! Click here for more information: 2020 HHC CFP
To submit a proposal, please click here: abstract submission form.
Deadline to submit abstract proposals is September 27, 2019.


The sixth annual Health Humanities Consortium (HHC) conference will explore the politics of health and healthcare in the context of world events and a vital 2020 election year. Health is a desired state – we all want to be healthy.  But health is increasingly a contested political state as well. Debates about who is deserving of health or healthcare intersect with questions, issues, and themes regarding matters such as race, gender, citizenship, identity, and representation that also lie at the core of the health humanities.  


Potential topics that might be addressed include (but not limited to):

  • In what ways are health humanities “political”? What are the social missions of health humanities, and in what ways can they address issues such as health equity, justice, and inclusion?
  • In our contested political age, how can health humanities promote empathy or understanding of contested points of view?
  • How can representations of health in language/literature, film, art, or media uncover deeper understandings of the complex political meanings of health and illness?
  • How does a humanistic lens contribute to understandings of issues such as The Affordable Care Act, Medicare for all, Brexit, big data or the rise of identity movements that deny humanity and healthcare to “others”?
  • How can a health humanities lens be applied to present-day hot-button political topics that have profound health implications – such as guns, racism, women’s reproductive health, genetics/personalized medicine, war, vaccines, ableism, addiction, or climate change?
  • How do health politics differ by country, region or locale?
  • How does focusing on the poetics of politics enable collaboration with disciplines such as public health, political science, sociology, anthropology, or economics?
  • What are the social and political responsibilities of practitioners/teachers/students of the health humanities in the current era?
  • How can we tie in themes and methods from health humanities to examine and analyze the upcoming 2020 election?
  • What desired political futures can health humanities imagine for individual and public health?
  • How does social media enable, enhance, or thwart political participation?


Key Conference Dates: 
Call for Papers (CFP) Open: July 1, 2019
Registration Open: August 15, 2019

Abstract Deadline: September 27, 2019
Abstract Decisions: November 20, 2019
Registration Deadline: January 15, 2020
Conference: March 26-28, 2020


Center for Medicine, Health, and Society
Vanderbilt University
2201 West End Avenue

Nashville, TN 37235


Contact Information: 
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About the Health Humanities Consortium:

The Health Humanities Consortium (HHC) promotes health humanities scholarship, education, and practices through interdisciplinary methods and theories that focus on the intersection of the arts and humanities, health, illness, and healthcare. Our goals are to: 

  • Promote understanding of the experiences of patients, caregivers, and communities as they are shaped in relation to models of disease, illness, health, and wellness.
  • Share practices and scholarship through an annual meeting.
  • Educate the public, healthcare professionals, and educators about the history, practice, and study of health humanities.


About Nashville:
Vanderbilt’s hometown of Nashville, TN (BNA airport) is a vibrant, engaging city known proudly as Music City, U.S.A. Along with its musical background, Nashville is a part of growing industries such as healthcare, education, hospitality, entertainment, hipsterism, and technology.

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