The Chronic Symposium

The Chronic: Temporality, Health and Care

Research Symposium: 17th March 2016, 10.00-4.00

Birkbeck, University of London

Supported by The Wellcome Trust, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Independent Social Research Foundation and the Department of Psychosocial Studies

This one-day symposium brings together invited speakers from a broad range of backgrounds and contexts to consider the complexities of the category ‘the chronic’ and its relation to healthcare. Through a series of short papers followed by roundtable discussion, it approaches this topic from the perspective of health policy; psychosocial, temporal, performance and cultural studies; history; the postcolonial and transnational; and the literary. Opening up a genuinely interdisciplinary conversation allows some new and important questions to be asked: How does the chronic function as a category in medicine and in culture more broadly? How does its slowed-down time relate to the accelerated times and technologies of modernity? What are the (bio)politics of the chronic, and how does it work to structure not only health practice and our experience of illness, but also to determine ideas of bodily time, urgency and waiting? What other time signatures are enabled or occluded by it? How is the trajectory of chronic temporality complicated on the one hand by regimes of end-of-life and palliative care, for instance, and on the other by the populist identity politics of ‘survivorship’? To what extent can it be thought of as a culturally and historically specific temporal mode, or even a description of ‘our times’? What is its genealogy and antecedents? How does chronic time operate as it moves between cultures, and between times, and with what effects?

Full details here