CFP: Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities Conference, Glasgow

University of Glasgow

Monday 4th July 2016

The Wellcome Trust-funded Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities project invites abstracts for its concluding conference. Science fiction is a fertile ground for the imagining of biomedical advances: technologies such as cloning, prosthetics, and rejuvenation are frequently encountered in science-fiction storytelling. Science fiction also offers alternative ideals of health and wellbeing, and imagines new forms of disease and suffering.

In this conference we want to explore issues of health, illness, and medicine in science-fiction narratives within a variety of media (written word, graphic novel, videogame, theatre, dance, film and television, etc.). We are also particularly interested in exploring the biomedical ‘technoscientific imaginary’: the culturally-embedded imagining of futures enabled by technoscientific innovation. We especially welcome papers that explore science-fiction tropes, motifs, and narratives within medical and health-related discourses, practices, and institutions: how far does the biomedical technoscientific imaginary permeate the everyday and expert worlds of modern medicine and healthcare?

Please send abstracts of up to 300 words for 20-minute presentations. Subject areas might include but are not limited to:

  • clinicians as science-fiction writers
  • representations of medicine, health, disability, and illness in science-fiction media
  • the use and misuse of science fiction in public engagement with biomedical science and technology
  • utopian narratives of miraculous biomedical progress (and their counter-narratives)
  • socio-political critique in medical science fiction
  • science fiction as stimulus to biomedical research and technology
  • science-fiction tropes, motifs and narratives in medical publicity
  • the visual and material aesthetic of science fiction in medicine and healthcare settings.

Abstracts should be emailed to Gavin Miller (project leader) and Anna McFarlane (research assistant) by Friday 4th March 2016 with a short biography (100 words or less).


Keynote Speakers:

Dr Luna Dolezal, from the University of Durham and Trinity College Dublin, is the author of The Body and Shame: Phenomenology, Feminism, and the Socially Shaped Body (2015). She also writes on posthumanism, pregnancy, and disability and organised a conference in 2014 entitled ‘The Future of the Body: Phenomenology, Medicine and the (Post)Human’.

Professor Daniel Pick comes to us from Birkbeck University of London and is the principal investigator for the Wellcome Trust-funded  project ‘Hidden Persuaders: Brainwashing, Culture, Clinical Knowledge and the Cold War Human Sciences, 1950-1990’ which explores narratives of brainwashing in the Cold War era. He is also the author of The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind (2012).

Professor Patrick Parrinder is Professor Emeritus of the University of Reading. He has written widely on literature since 1880, particularly focusing on science fiction and utopian literature. His most recent book is Utopian Literature and Science: From the Scientific Revolution to Brave New World and Beyond which explores themes such as genetics and the singularity in utopian fiction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *