Violence, Care, Cure

Do03Feb(Feb 3)10:15Fr04(Feb 4)20:00Violence, Care, Cure(Self)perceptions Within the Medical EncounterVeranstaltungsartSymposium


Since the 1980s, scholars in the interdisciplinary field of the medical humanities have foregrounded how the distinction between ‘disease’, i.e. the medical classification of symptoms, and the individual experience of illness can be generative to unlock the tensions within the medical encounter. The doctor and the patient may tell two very different stories of illness, even contradictory ones. The mismatch that often arises between the medical gaze (Michel Foucault, 1963). and the individual’s gaze in the face of the same event can be productively addressed by paying attention to their visual and narrative representations. ​​In addition, the ways diseases have been portrayed with words and images have also affected the (self)perception of the body through history. If medicine is about stories (the patients’, doctors’, science’s, society’s), when and where do conflicts and misunderstandings arise that turn the cure into something perceived as violence? Literary and visual narratives contribute to sharing these stories and can offer a vantage point to address larger cultural scripts. How do these narratives represent perceptions of violence within medical settings and practices?

The two-day symposium seeks to address the ambiguities of and tensions among perceptions at the cusp of internal (subjective) and external (social, cultural, political) ‘gazes’. What the individual experiences, at either end of the consultation room, is a complex interlacing of personal vicissitudes, global structures, and community practices: a prismatic network in which ‘care’ and ‘violence’ are reflected and refracted in a variety of oftentimes overlapping and divergent interpretative modes. Communities (whether concrete, virtual, or imagined) can be perceived as both providers of care and support, as well as instigators of violence. A case in point mirroring this ambiguity are for instance online pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia communities, where users create a space to share their experiences of eating disorders while at the same time promoting self-disruptive food behaviours. Another telling example is constituted by the outcomes of the ongoing pandemic; the alliance of extreme right-wing movements with anti-vaxers, and the protests against governments’ covid-related sanitary measures or the green pass (dubbed a ‘sanitary dictatorship’) have exposed the infiltration of radical ideologies and conspiracies into medical discourse, whereby care and violence lose their neat distinction. While a black and white opposition between internal/external, care/neglect, cure/violence may seem reductionist, engagement with these seemingly contrasting attitudes reveals the complex entanglements among possible scientific dogmatic drifts, social inequalities within healthcare systems, and idiosyncratic projections of individual and collective fears, which often lead to stigmatizing certain collectivities for the origin or transmission of contagious diseases (Zhao Xun and Sander L. Gilman, 2021).

Thursday, 3 Feb 2022

10:00 Introduction

10:15 – 11:45 Workshop I: On Biopolitics

Xenia Chiaramonte (ICI Berlin)
Bio-History. Michel Foucault and the History of Social Medicine

Federico Dal Bo (University of Heidelberg)
Politics in the Time of Cholera. Covid, Table Manners, and Bio-Politics

Manuela Kölke (European Graduate School)
Bearing Life. Anthropological Critiques of Survival

11:45 – 12:15: Coffee Break

12:15 – 13:45 Workshop II: Clinical Encounters

Avril Tynan (University of Turku)
What the Patient Doesn’t Say. Against Interpretative Violence in Narrative Medicine

Silvia Pierosara (University of Macerata)
Scenes of Care. Narratives as too Fragile Bulwarks against Violence

Ashwak Sam Hauter (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Physicians or Prophets? Affinity and Alghayb in the Hospital

13:45 – 15:30 Lunch Break

16:00 – 18:00 Roundtable: On Violence, Care, Cure (Livestream available)

Elizabeth Punzi (Gothenburg University)
Heike Bartel (University of Nottingham)
Mita Banerjee (University of Mainz)
Angela Woods (Durham University)
Daniele Lorenzini (University of Warwick)

19:00 Online Lecture Sander L. Gilman (Livestream available)
Let’s Talk about Vaccination:
Violence, Care, Risk in the Age of COVID-19

Friday, 4 Feb 2022

10:00 – 12:00 Workshop III: Questioning Healing

Lena Ditte Nissen (Kunstuniversität Linz)
Chaosmos of the Personal. The Ethno-psychoanalytic Method of the ‘Interpretation Workshop’ Within Artistic Research on Female Role Models in National Socialism

Vera Mader (Ruhr University Bochum)
‘My friend and Heilpraktiker’. Audre Lorde, German Naturopathy, and Environmental Healing in the Late 20th Century

Lisa Schmidt-Herzog (IMGWF Universität zu Lübeck)
Non-Reception as Violence. Frantz Fanon and the Poetization of Science

Rachel Pafe (Independent Researcher)
Plumbing the Perpetual Loss of Paradise. Susan Taubes and Sacred Suffering

12:00 – 13:30 Lunch Break

13:30 – 14:30 Workshop IV: Cinematic Patients

Sophia Rohwetter (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)
Relational Encounters. Articulations of Radical Psychiatry in Alberto Grifi’s Anthropology of Disobedience

Hannah Parlett (University of Cambridge)
Pedro Almodóvar’s Anatomical Venus

14:35 – 16:05 Workshop V: Being Trans and Non-Binary in the Medical Environment

Claude Kempen (SOAS, University of London)
Mind the Gap! Non-Binary Transition and the Medical Encounter

Myriam Sauer (Independent Researcher)
A Kinaesthesia in Ruins. Dysphoria as Psychic Dehiscence

G. Melville (Durham University)
For a New Trans-Individual. Bernard Stiegler and the Technicalities of Gendered Care

16:05 – 16.35 Coffee Break

16:35 – 18:05 Workshop VI: Art Work and Medical Care

Nora Heidorn (Royal College of Art London)
Touching Matters of Care. A Visual Approach to the Care and Violence in Dr Marie Stopes’ Birth Control Campaign

Maria Morata (Independent Curator and Researcher)
I Am Not My MRI

Ruth Noack (Former Executive Director of The Corner at Whitman-Walker), Britt Walsh (Whitman-Walker Health, Washington)
Small Indignities. Envisioning an Exhibition on Some of the Inequities in Trans-Healthcare

18:05 – 18:30 Final Remarks

Organized by

Clio Nicastro and Marta-Laura Cenedese

The symposium is co-funded by the ICI Berlin, the VolkswagenStiftung, the Centre Marc Bloch, and the Nordic Summer University.

How to Attend

  • The workshops are available in-person at ICI Berlin or via Zoom only – Venue and Zoom are fully booked: Please register for waiting list, using the form below.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Livestream available for roundtable and keynote lecture with the possibility to ask questions via chat. No registration required.

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3. Februar 2022 10:15 - 4. Februar 2022 20:00(GMT+02:00)


ICI Berlin

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ICI Berlin

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ICI Berlin