CFP: ‘Data and Stories in Digital Health Care: Mixed Methods for Medical Humanities’, Charité – University Medical Center Berlin, 5-7 December 2019

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Date: 5-7 December 2019

Location:Charité – University Medical Center Berlin

Closing date for abstracts: 1 October 2019

Data and Stories in Digital Health Care. Mixed Methods for Medical Humanities

Call for papers for an interdisciplinary workshop in Medical Humanities, 5-7 December 2019, Charité – University Medical Center Berlin

The workshop “Data and Stories in Digital Healthcare” examines the mutual entanglements of the humanities with medicine and data science. It focuses on the variety of forms in which information about health and illness travel between different stakeholders, such as patients and health care professionals. These forms encompass traditionally studied in the humanities (such as narratives, metaphors, images, graphic novels) as well as electronic forms (such as databases, electronic records, medical codes, and digital imaging procedures). The workshop wishes to explore mixed methods to better understand how these diverging forms crisscross and destabilize allegedly neat disciplinary boundaries and how they communicate information by blending, intersecting and even replacing one another.

The aim of the workshop is to explore mixed methods for Medical Humanities, a field of research that uses approaches from literature studies, history, art, anthropology and philosophy in order to understand with the help of hermeneutical, qualitative perspectives some of the central issues in medical practice – such as pain, identity, illness, death, grief. With the rise of digital technologies in medicine, the traditional methodologies used by scholars in Medical Humanities may no longer suffice and thus need to be rethought and reimagined so that Medical Humanities can continue to afford a deeper understanding of the complexities of medical care.

The central research questions of the workshop are thus: How can we make sense of the hybrid nature of data and stories in Medical Humanities? How can text-immanent approaches, such as close reading and narrative analysis, be combined with the interpretation of data? And what can Digital Medical Humanities offer as a field to better understand, manage and ideally improve the use of the hybrid forms in which health care information travels?

We invite contributions that explore the following – or related – issues:

·       the problem of scale in data and stories (big data, singular stories)

·       data and stories as chronotopes

·       reading images: data visualization, coding and aesthetics

·       medical documentation and the coding of data and stories

·       seriality and casuistic approaches to data and stories

·       negotiating uncertainty and ambiguity through practices of quantification

We particularly invite early career researchers (postdocs, PhD-students, Master students) from the humanities, data sciences and medicine who are working at the intersections of stories and data and have a pronounced research interest in mixed methods.

Please send an abstract of max. 300 words of your proposed presentation along with your contact details and a short academic bio to: and by October 1, 2019. Applicants will be notified by October 15, 2019.

The workshop is funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung (program: “Mixed Methods in the Humanities”). Travel expenses, accommodation and meals will be reimbursed for invited participants. A number of pre-selected speakers have confirmed their participation in the workshop; among them are Kirsten Ostherr, Fritz Breithaupt, and Arthur Frank.

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