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

TC Medical Humanities and Health Studies Forum election

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    Amanda Caleb
    Participant
    @acaleb

    Dear colleagues,

    My name is Amanda Caleb, and I am Professor of Medical Humanities at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, having previously served as founding director and Professor of Medical and Health Humanities and Professor of English at Misericordia University. Although formally trained in Victorian studies and at the intersections of literature, medicine, and science, I have expanded my interests to include contemporary health communication rhetoric and methodology, including the medicalization of social policies and modes of inclusion/exclusion.

    I have significant conference organization experience, having served as an area chair for the Popular Culture Association since 2015, organized and chaired panels for the Northeast MLA, and organized and hosted two conferences: an international conference on nineteenth-century science and literature in 2006 and a national conference on disability and arts in 2016 (co-organized with Ryan Weber). I currently serve as membership chair for the Health Humanities Consortium, as well as an academic advisor for the Maimonides Institute for Medical, Ethics, and the Holocaust and on the steering committee for the International Chair in Bioethics, Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust. I have received two NEH grants for my work in the health humanities, one to revise Misericordia University’s Medical and Health Humanities curriculum and one to develop a lecture series on COVID-19 and the Humanities (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC58dKlX0Y9qfbfPR0_SSzYg/videos) and a podcast on contemporary issues in the health humanities (https://thehealthhumanist.podbean.com/). I have published and presented widely in the health humanities and gave one of the keynote addresses for the 2020 Medicine, Humanity, and Media conference.

    I am running for the TC Medical Humanities and Health Studies Forum because I am interested in contributing to the continued development of our field, particularly as the field and its practitioners negotiate shared spaces of inquiry, and I believe my experience would contribute to the field’s growth. As someone who entered our emerging field nearly two decades ago and who, until recently, occupied a joint appointment, I am personally familiar with how interdisciplinary creates both great opportunities and significant challenges in subject matter and methodology. Erin Lamb and Craig Klugman’s Research Methods in Health Humanities (2019) is an important starting point to these conversations about methodology, but more development is needed, particularly as we continue to think broadly about the health humanities and its role both in and outside academia. For instance, Lise Saffran’s 2014 call for a public health humanities has not been answered sufficiently; this subfield is ripe for development, particularly in light of structural inequities and social justice. I imagine rich opportunities for this Forum to investigate these spaces of inquiry and think critically about how the health humanities can contribute to addressing such equities through activism and action. The health humanities can continue its important work within a public space, situating health as an imperative that needs to be studied and advocated for. What I hope to contribute to this Forum is not just a continued support for academic inquiry but also a concerted effort to bring the health humanities to the public and act for the public.

    While I hope to serve you on this Forum, I also believe Bassam Sidiki would be an excellent member of the Forum and will help develop the field in a global light. I believe either of us would serve your interests well. If you have any questions for me about my experience, research, or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me at: acaleb@som.geisinger.edu. Thank you for your consideration.

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