Call for Papers Interdisciplinary Conference:


April 29-May 1, 2005 Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Over the last decade, two interconnected issues have occupied a rapidly growing place in social studies of medicine: disparities in health and health care, and cultural differences that affect health-related behaviors and patients’ interactions with the health-care system. These topics have proved remarkably fruitful as subjects for research and teaching. Yet the underlying concepts and assumptions have rarely received the critical reexamination they deserve.

This conference is intended to bring together scholars from multiple disciplines to share and discuss new approaches to the study of inequalities and differences in medicine. Among the central questions to be addressed are how we define and measure inequalities and whether the differences that shape patient behaviors in various population groups are best understood in cultural, socioeconomic, or other terms. The keynote speakers will be David R. Williams (Departments of Sociology and Epidemiology, University of Michigan), a leading authority on race-based disparities in American health care, and physician and medical anthropologist Vinh Kim Nguyen (Department of Social Studies and Medicine, McGill University Faculty of Medicine), whose research focuses on the HIV epidemic in West Africa. Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers or 3-paper sessions from researchers in any appropriate field or fields. Papers may be either theoretical or empirical in emphasis. Proposals that provide an international or historical perspective would be particularly welcome. Possible themes include but are not limited to:

– the concept of cultural difference in medicine – defining disparities – race, ethnicity, gender, class, occupation – health inequalities in colonial and postcolonial settings – globalization and health inequalities – narrative understandings of inequalities and differences (including but not limited to patient narratives).

Send a 300-word abstract and a vita for each proposed participant as e-mail attachments by Monday, November 1, 2004 to the joint conference organizers, listed below. Presenters will receive a travel grant of $750 to help cover the costs of transportation and lodging.

The conference is jointly sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University. It grew out of a year-long interdisciplinary fellows seminar at the Warren Center in 2003-2004. Current plans call for publishing selected conference papers together with contributions from the Warren Center fellows in a volume edited by the joint conference organizers. ——–

Joint Conference Organizers:

Professor Matthew Ramsey Center for Medicine, Health & Society Vanderbilt University VU Station B #351656, 2301 Vanderbilt Place Nashville, TN 37235-1656, U.S.A. 1-615-322-0096 (voice) 1-615-343-6002 (fax) [email protected]

Professor Larry Churchill Center for Clinical and Research Ethics Vanderbilt University Medical Center 319 Oxford House Nashville, TN 37232 4350, U.S.A. [email protected] 1-615-936-2686 (voice) 1-615-936-3800 (fax)