An MLA network for scholars engaged in the study of representations of health, illness, and health professions.

TC Medical Humanities and Health Studies Election 2021

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    Bassam Sidiki


    My name is Bassam Sidiki and I am a PhD Candidate in English and Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan. I also hold an MA in Medical Humanities and Bioethics from Northwestern University. I work at the intersections of health humanities, postcolonial studies, and disability studies. My dissertati0n/first book, “Parasitic Empires, Illness, Insularity, Inter-Imperiality, 1880-2020,” is a cultural history of infectious disease and tropical medicine in Anglo-American maritime colonies and an examination of this history’s postcolonial literary afterlives.

    I am running for the Forum Executive Committee of TC Medical Humanities and Health Studies because I am deeply invested in developing our nascent and exciting interdisciplinary field by encouraging more engagement between health humanities and theories of race, colonial power, class, and ethnicity. Taking my cue from historians Suman Seth and Rana Hogarth, while “race science” has long been an object of discussion in humanistic endeavors, elucidating a “race medicine” is a relatively recent conversation. I intend to explore this intersection through panels, symposia, edited collections, and informal gatherings where young health humanists can get to know each other and discuss these pressing intellectual issues. As a young scholar in his first year on the job market, I also hope to use this forum as a venue for other young scholars to learn not just about how to navigate the challenging academic job market but also to discover other kinds of opportunities, for instance, teaching appointments in medical schools. Being a creative writer who has published poetry and creative nonfiction on the themes of illness and healing, I also hope to encourage more conversation between academics and theorists of the field on the one hand and creative writers on the other. I have in mind a potential collaboration between our Forum and the Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine.

    Some of my accomplishments include organizing a special session on “Literature and Imperial Medicine” at MLA 2020, and the “Imperial Afflictions” Symposium for February 2022 at University of Michigan. I have published or have work forthcoming in Journal of Medical Humanities, Literature and Medicine, JLCDS, Post45, and Synapsis, and have presented at various networks such as the International Health Humanities Consortium Conference and the CHCI Medical/Health Humanities Summer Institute.

    I hope that I can count on your vote in the coming election! Our field has so much to offer the interdisciplinary arts and sciences: I look forward to working with my brilliant colleagues to include within its purview global inequalities that have become all too clear as we continue to live under the shadow of this unrelenting pandemic. Please email me at should you have any questions or if you just want to get in touch.

    In solidarity,


    This topic was also posted in: 2021 MLA Convention.
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