Phenomenology and much feminist theory and philosophy investigate lived experiences and affirm the role of embodiment for human meaning-making. Furthermore, both unveil and scrutinize taken-for-granted and in this sense ‘hidden’ assumptions, beliefs and norms that we live by, that we strengthen by repeated actions and that we also resist, challenge and question. Whereas there is a growing area of feminist phenomenology dealing with concrete issues of embodiment and situatedness surprisingly little work focuses on topics/phenomena related to medicine and health. Whereas phenomenologists have made valuable contributions to the analysis of the nature of medicine, the meaning of illness and health as well as clinical practice, there have been comparably few analyses of such issues that combine insights from feminist theory and philosophy with phenomenology.
This conference is based on the conviction that facticities of human life, such as birth, illness, sex and death benefit from being examined in the light of feminist theory and phenomenology. More and more often, these facticities are managed in medicine, through medical treatment and medical technology. We want to approach both the facticities of human existence and the different ways in which these are being medicalized through the perspectives of feminist phenomenology. By doing this we want to bring to light the role of bodies in different human experiences and in subjective and intersubjective meaning-making. We want to examine taken-for-granted assumptions about bodies that inform and structure medical practices and lived experiences in medicine as well as in everyday life. We further want to raise questions of how the relation between phenomenology and feminism can be understood in a fruitful and mutually enriching way and how phenomenon such as birth, illness, sex and ageing can and does inform feminist phenomenology as a theoretical framework.
We welcome contributions from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives dealing with the overarching topic of feminist phenomenology and medicine. Topics can include (but are not limited to) phenomenological analyses and/or approaches to:
- suffering and pain
- birth and death
- embodiment of subjectivity
- sexualities and sexual identities
- medical practices
- medical diagnosis
- bodily movement