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?
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