CFP: Special issue of Partial Answers on “Knowledge and Pain”

The journal, Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas, has issued a CFP — for a special issue on the topic of “Knowledge and Pain” — which we thought might interest some of our readers. To access the CFP online, please click here. Here is the text of the CFP:

Knowledge and Pain

Pain, physical or emotional, as a field of knowledge about suffering, is a subject of scholarly attention in the humanities and social sciences, in parallel with the scientific study of pain mechanisms and controls. A collection of peer-reviewed essays on Knowledge and Pain will be devoted to the voices of the sufferers (rather than to those of inflictors, healers, or managers of pain). Bypassing, as much as possible, the messages of professional mediators, it will focus on the light that sufferers themselves shed upon their condition through verbal or visual expression.

The issues listed below offer theoretical frameworks for papers that would engage with specific materials in, among others, Jewish studies, literary history, gender discourse, history of science and medicine, and post-colonial studies.

  • How does discourse function as an intermediary between sufferer and listeners? Is pain destructive of language or does it merely challenge it?
  • How and in what contexts does body language communicate suffering in different cultures and inter-culturally?
  • What social capital (if any) do sufferers gain from communicating their pain?
  • Is pain exclusively destructive of the subject’s world or can it yield cognitive or spiritual gain?
  • Is it ethically problematic to ascribe meaning to pain beyond its function as a symptom?
  • What are the relationships between physical and emotional pain?
  • How are the media used to represent pain, and with what side effects?
  • Do artistic representations of suffering improve our understanding of the pain of another?
  • How does the voice of pain implicate the hearer?

Papers of up to 8000 words, in English, formatted in accordance with the Chicago Style manual (with parenthetic references and “Works Cited” – footnotes used only for further remarks) should reach Professor Esther Cohen ( December 31, 2010. Preliminary enquiries are welcome.

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