Schedule, March 31


VENUE: Mechanics Institute Library, 57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA


Ebru Ustundag – Brock University and Courtney Donovan – San Francisco State University, Contesting Clinical Accounts of Traumatic Experiences: Exploring Graphic Novel Discourses
Despite the emotional turn in geography, complexities of traumatic experiences have been understudied and under theorized. In this paper, we explore the relevance of graphic novels to understanding and responding to the embodied nature of traumatic experiences. We argue that graphic novels unique narrative form, which integrates images and written text, offer a significant departure from clinical accounts of trauma.  In this respect, graphic novels build upon existing work in trauma studies that considers the complexity of trauma and embodiment. To illustrate our point, we draw from several graphic novels that address themes of trauma.  

Keywords: health geographies, trauma, graphic novels 

keywords: Medical, Health, Disease, Disability, Historical, Literature, Narrative, Travel, New England, America, Method, Maritime, Ship 

9:20AM: Gentry Powell Hanks – Queens University, The Historical Geographies of Diabetes: ‘Now, here I am, a normal happy and I even hope useful individual”
Historically within medicine, an understanding of causal and correlational relationships between emotion and diabetes was of interest, however, the trend was replaced with foci on obesity, medicalization and genetics. This presentation provides critical, historical perspectives on diabetes through exploring archival materials (The Banting Papers and the Hughes Papers, Fisher Rare Book Library). Using these collections, I bring patient voices to the fore and highlight the role of emotion in everyday lived experiences with diabetes. These communications give insight to patients' lives before and after the discovery of insulin. The letters contain narrative descriptions of socio-spatial limitations resulting from life with diabetes as a chronic illness, as well as socio-spatial freedoms afforded after the use of insulin. Hughes' letters discuss her diet, carbohydrate intake and almost all of her letters include mention of her relationship to food in everyday life. 
The quantification of the self in treating diabetes has, I argue, arisen from the calorie counting of starvation diets before the discovery of insulin to historical and current practices of carbohydrate counting as seen in Hughes' correspondence. Technology has been and is continually being developed for measuring blood sugar, quantifying carbohydrate to insulin unit ratios and monitoring diabetes, which requires an extreme self quantification with constant data collection, consideration and analysis. These historical accounts of managing and living with diabetes sheds light on a current trajectory of an ever increasing quantified existence, which is most certainly bound up with an everyday emotional experience of bodies as places and the world. 

keywords: Health, Medicine, Historical, Archives, Diabetes 

9:40AM: Skye Naslund – University of Washington, Narratives of Care: Negotiating Social Services for the Disabled

Much of the care work for individuals with disabilities falls on the family of those individuals, particularly during the first decades of the individual's life.  Limited availability of acceptable options for long-term care often extend both the scope and duration of family caregiving.  In the United States, social services for individuals with disabilities vary tremendously between states.   Most social services are provided through a variety of opt-in systems that must be negotiated by the family.  Tremendous variability both in families' ability to navigate the system and in support from social workers makes access to social services highly uneven.  The use of social services generally requires a large amount of coordination and navigation of bureaucracy and individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities are rarely capable of performing this navigation alone. 
This research offers a preliminary qualitative examination of the ways in which care is balanced between family, social services, and community/volunteer organizations.  It examines how families rely on social services while simultaneously finding ways of compensating when such services fall short.  Findings reveal how the spheres of responsibility are negotiated and contested by families, communities, and social workers, particularly in the ever-changing landscape of federal regulations. The project provides important insights into how individuals and families make use of services in ways that best fit their lives despite formal prescriptions for use.  Ultimately, this project reveals the ways in which individuals and their families employ, embody, and contest the convoluted, and often contradictory, narratives of care that surround individuals with disabilities. 

keywords: Disability, Care, Social Services, Health Geography, Narratives 

10:00AM: Pamela Moss – The University of Victoria, American Beauty? Ontological Security in Uncertain Times

Searching for strength in the face of emotional, financial, and relationship turmoil has been a theme running throughout Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics since Greetings from Asbury Park. For over a decade, Springsteen has infused his lyrics with ideas of security, in the sense of personal confidence and wellbeing, community safety and refuge, and national defence and protection. Yet this security is marked with indecision, edged with doubt, and circumscribed with ambiguity. Tracing the emotional paths through theses expressions of security can assist in sorting out some of the claims that inform his recent body of work. Through a focus on the ontological – emergence of the now as part of an ongoing process – I read the emotions wrapped up in this search for strength. This presentation reads American Beauty as an example of Bruce Springsteen’s post-9/11 subjects. I contrast the notion of ontological security with relational ontology, as part of a generative understanding of the emergence of a subject. I explore the varied subjects that emerge across the verses in the four songs included in the album. I point toward the continuity with pre-9/11 subjects with popular memes that Springsteen uses and then show how various understandings of security infuses the subjects. I then discuss practices associated with technologies of the self as a way to take up specific subject positionings. I conclude with a discussion of how the characters are not, nor can they be, nomadic because of Springsteen’s engagement with dominant discourses in light of the evident shift in post-9/11 popular talk about security. 

keywords: Braidotti, Foucault, nomad, ontological security, relational ontology, technologies of the self 

10:40-11:30: Panel discussion

11:30AM-12:00PM: Refreshments and continued discussion