COVID-19 has forced medicine and psychiatry onto tele-platforms, a shift some claim will be permanent. For the technology industries, this is a welcome acceleration of health care’s digitalization. For care workers and their patients, this shift away from environments of inperson care to the screen interface may be less welcome. At the same time, disability activists are highlighting that after decades of being told remote access to care was impossible, those barriers have diminished—but for how long? By reconfiguring social and temporal relations, everyday media technologies encourage new dynamics among doctors, patients, activists, medical institutions, and care collectives. What does feminist media studies, with its rich histories of heightened attunement to mediated bodies, mediated care, and media of care have to contribute to this shift?
Noting these contemporary reconfigurations, this special issue takes as its cue media studies work that has established how medicine, psychiatry, and associated clinical disciplines have always been mediated and technological. Building on work in cinema studies (Kirsten Ostherr; Lisa Cartwright), science and technology studies (Kim Tallbear; Hannah Landecker), media studies (David Serlin; Cait McKinney; Jonathan Sterne), critical health studies (Jonathan Metzl; Helena Hansen; Laura Mauldin), Black studies (Moya Bailey & Whitney Peoples), queer studies (Ann Cvetkovich; Douglas Crimp) and crip studies (Leon Hilton; Aimi Hamraie), this Special Issue seeks new ways of theorizing, analyzing, countering, and, perhaps, cripping the histories of mediated technologies of care.
We invite papers from across a range of disciplines that address screen media, media technologies, digital care, medical knowledge, and health activism. Although we welcome work on established medicine and health care, we are particularly interested in feminist histories of media practices, media objects, and activist efforts that have taken digital and screen media as mechanisms for contesting and negotiating power and authority over care. Drawing from disability studies and crip theory, trans and queer theory, feminist studies, and critical race studies, we welcome papers that focus on “informal networks of care,” on processes and peoples which institutional perspectives might demote but which for us are the real spaces of emergence and innovation.
Possible topics may include: the activist histories of mutual aid networks and care organizations; big data and its histories; cinema and psychiatry; mediations of deinstitutionalization; medical racism and surveillance; and digital health/telemedicine/teletherapy, among others. We are especially interested in receiving proposals for papers that focus on the global south or transnational histories, but welcome papers focusing on any geographical area and time period.
Interested contributors should contact guest editors Olivia Banner and Hannah Zeavin directly, sending a 500-word proposal and a short bio no later than October 15, 2021 to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributors will be notified by November 15, 2021; article drafts will be due by March 15, 2022 and will then be sent out for peer review. Feminist Media Histories is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal devoted to feminist histories of film, video, audio, and digital technologies across a range of time periods and global contexts. Inter-medial and trans-national in approach, Feminist Media Histories examines the historical role gender has played in varied media technologies, and documents women's engagement with these media as audiences and users, creators and executives, critics and theorists, technicians and laborers, educators and activists.