116th Annual Conference - Bellingham, Washington
Friday, November 9 - Sunday, November 11, 2018

Long(ing) Life

Session Chair: 
Fuson Wang, University of California, Riverside
Session 4: Saturday 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Miller Hall 135
Topic Area: 


  1. Fuson Wang, University of California, Riverside
    Edward Jenner's smallpox vaccine (1798) inaugurated a new medico-literary optimism. But would this life offer an unending horizon of life experiences or never-ending physical and mental slings and arrows? This paper surveys some Romantic-era responses to this question while historicizing Rosemarie Garland-Thomson's universal: "If we live long enough, we will all become disabled." The "if" of that conditional was not always a casual given, and the nascent prospect of long life, I argue, forced Romantic authors to become the first disability theorists.
  2. José Francisco Robles, University of Washington - Seattle
    Juan Ignacio Molina’s De peste variolarum (ca. 1761) is a neo-Latin poetic work in which the author describes his experience with smallpox. Hallucinations from his sickness, I propose, lead him to contemplate the meaning of his life while imaginarily re-visiting the rivers of his childhood in Southern Chile. 
  3. Johan Clarke, Georgetown University
    Julia Kristeva’s theories on abjection provide a framework to understand physicians’  fascination with the body going wrong. This paper uses Kristeva’s Powers of Horror to deconstruct various works of literature and the author’s personal experiences in medicine to understand the physician and the patient's uncanny relationship to the body and discomfort with death.
Session Cancelled: