2020 – Vanderbilt University

It is with deep regret that we write to inform you of the postponement of the 2020 “Politics of Health” Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Our conference leadership team has been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) constantly. The decision to postpone was based on *the latest scientific data being reported, and **the fact that a very large number of attendees at this meeting are coming from CDC level 3 areas, or from institutions that have now restricted or banned travel to conferences. Nashville’s recent tragic tornado also impacted many of our key vendors.

Regarding specifics:

**All individual registration fees will be returned.  Please email 2020hhc@vanderbilt.edu  to begin that process. We urge your understanding and patience as we process these requests.

**Please contact the hotels directly *if* your reservation is at Embassy or Hilton. A number of key staff at these hotels have been impacted by the tornado, so the wait time may be slightly longer than usual – but please know that they are aware of the situation.  For Scarritt-Bennett, we will have details shortly.  Again, hotel information appears at,https://www.vanderbilt.edu/mhs/2020-hhc-politics-of-health/

**Most major airlines are accommodating changes without charge – please contact them directly as well.

**For those with immutable plans or who will already be in Nashville, we hope to host a greatly reduced slate of events, if we are so able – in part because many of the venues/contracts/rooms/materials/etc are already paid for, and also to provide community in these challenging times.  At this point and per guidelines, we aim to host *a smaller Keynote Panel on Thursday; *a smaller reception after that panel; *several lectures and discussions on Friday – responding to world health events, led by MHS faculty and students.  All formal panels, exhibitions, readings, catering, and the Rock Bottom party are postponed. Please stay tuned for announcements – these events will be free of charge and open

**We also plan to host a two day HHC symposium in the Fall, on the Politics of Health (large plenary panels and social events) as a lead-in to the Spring 2021 conference  – a time when information about this pandemic will hopefully become more predictable/known, and as the issues of politics and health become ever more urgent as we recover.  Dates for this event coming very soon (very likely Oct 7/8 @MHS) – much of this event will be open to the public.  Unfortunately, we simply will not have the infrastructure to re-host all of the panels on the 2020 program.

**The next full HHC conference will be next Spring, @Penn State.

We recognize that the timing of this decision has significantly inconvenienced many of you.  On a personal level – we are so deeply, deeply sorry that we won’t get to host you for what was sure to be a remarkable set of conversations, engagements, and events.

However, this decision was made out of a deep concern for the health and well-being of our registrants, staff, students.

With love and in support – Jonathan Metzl and Manisha Mishra, conference co-chairs


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

Conference Theme: The Politics of Health

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

For more information, please visit: (https://www.vanderbilt.edu//mhs/2019/06/2020hhc/)

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 the health humanities “political”? What are the social missions of the health humanities, and in what ways can health humanities 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 looking at representations of health in literature, film, art, or media uncover deeper understandings of the complex social meanings of health and illness?
  • What does a humanistic lens contribute to understandings of issues such as The Affordable Care Act, Medicare for all,  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, vaccines, ableism, addiction, or climate change?
  • How do humanistic representations of health politics differ by country, region or locale?
  • How does a focus on 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 the health humanities with the upcoming 2020 election?

Key Conference Dates
  • Call for Proposals (CFP) Release: July 1, 2019
  • Registration Open: August 15, 2019
  • Abstract Deadline: September 27, 2019  Extended! October 4, 2019
  • Abstract Decisions: November 20, 2019
  • Registration Deadline: January 15, 2020
  • Conference: March 26-28, 2020