Translation and Medical Humanities Conference


The Translation and Medical Humanities conference explores the interzone between translation studies and medical humanities by bringing together students, researchers, and professionals in these and adjacent areas. The idea for, and need of, this conference moves from the realisation that the visions and methods of translation studies and translation theory have up to now remained largely overlooked, if not altogether ignored, in critical medical humanities (Whitehead et. al. 2016) and health humanities alike (Crawford, Brown, and Charise 2020). This lack of attention is particularly surprising given these fields’ inclusive, activist, applied, and culturally diverse agendas. Similarly, an unrecognised yet implicit division between the medical—as in individual and/or societal health—and the ecological—as in planetary, non-human health—has facilitated the evolution of medical humanities and environmental humanities along parallel lines that have only rarely intersected (e.g., Bleakley 2019). Even though a translational understanding of health and disease has been evoked (e.g., Kristeva et al. 2018), a systematic appraisal of the contribution of translation studies and translation theory to the fields of medical and health humanities is overdue. The two-day programme will explore three bridge-concepts between, or key aspects of, translation and medical humanities: language, culture and power.

Translation is the interface between language and genes.
— Emily Apter

Please visit the Translation and Medical Humanities conference webpage here for the full Call for Papers and information about submission and registration. For further information, please be in touch with Dr Marta Arnaldi at

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Tuesday, 5 September

9:00–9:30 | Coffee & Registration

9:30–9:40 | Welcome
Marta Arnaldi (University of Oslo and University of Oxford) and John Ødemark (University of Oslo)

9:40–10:30 | Keynote: ‘Incommunicable: Toward Communicative Justice in Health and Medicine’, Charles Briggs (University of California, Berkeley)
Chaired by Marta Arnaldi (University of Oslo and University of Oxford)

10:30–12:00 | Panel 1: Translating Indigeneity and/as Medical Pluralism
Chaired by Tony Sandset (University of Oslo)

  • ‘Medical Pluralism in Indian Literature: A Study of Short Stories Translated into English from Indian Languages’, Prachi Sharma (Parliament and Archives, Parliament of India)
  • ‘Placebo, Additional Medicine and the Healing Power of Ritual’, Daniel Mohseni Kabir Bäckström (University of Oslo)
  • ‘Lu Xun and the Deleuzian Small Health’, Shijung Kim (Harvard University)
  • ‘The Challenges of Translating Self-Help Books from English into Arabic while Maintaining their Positive Effect on Mental Health’, Amjad Alliheibi (University of Leicester and King Khalid University)

12:00–13:00 | Lunch

13:00–14:30 | Panel 2: Translating (with) the Other-than-Human: From Nature to AI
Chaired by Joseph Hankinson (University of Oxford)

  • ‘Translating Microbiomic Thinking across Time, Space and Genre’, Davina Höll (Mainz University)
  • ‘Virality and Translation in Nights of Plague’ Duygu Tekgül-Akın (Bahçeşehir University)
  • ‘Translating Medical Scenes in Fiction: From Scalpel to Paper in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’, Nefise Kahraman (University of Toronto)
  • ‘Deeper Learning: Translating the Lived Experience of Dementia Using Semantic Frame Theory and Large Language Models’, James Carney (London Interdisciplinary School)

14:30–14:40 | Coffee Break

14:40-16:00 | Panel 3: Roundtable on Translation and Medical Humanities: Histories and Visions

Marta Arnaldi (University of Oslo and University of Oxford)
Eivind Engebretsen (University of Oslo)
Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool)
John Ødemark (University of Oslo)

16:00–16:30 | Transfer to the Pitt Rivers Museum

          16:30–17:00 | Visit to Pitt Rivers Museum (for conference delegates)

          16:30–18:30 | ‘Bodies in Translation’ ECRs Workshop (for registered ECRs)

          Marenka Thomson-Odlum (Pitt Rivers Museum)
          Marta Arnaldi (University of Oslo and University of Oxford)
          John Ødemark (University of Oslo)

          with Cristian Torres-Gutierrez, University of Oslo; Zsolt Györegy, University of Oslo; Greta Karoline Heien, University of Oslo; Caroline Pilat, ARUP; Anna Grøgaard, University of Oslo; Jeremy Nigel Leslie-Spinks, University of Oxford; Frances (Fanny) Clemente, University of Oxford

Wednesday, 6 September

9:00–9:45 | Keynote: ‘Working Knowledge and the Duality of Uncertainty: Translating Heterogeneous Knowledge Networks in Long Covid Clinics’, Trish Greenhalgh (University of Oxford)
Chaired by Eivind Engebretsen (University of Oslo)

9:45–10:00 | Coffee Break

10:00–11:30 | Panel 4: Translating Medical Discourses across Genres and Media
Chaired by Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool)

  • ‘“I Am Not a Pituitary Endocrinologist, But...”: A Translation Studies- Inspired Perspective on Online Knowledge Translation as Identity Work’, Henry Jones (University of Manchester)
  • ‘Journalistic Translation and the International Circulation of Science News via the EurekAlert! Platform’, Jack McMartin and Elisa Nelissen (KU Leuven)
  • ‘Spatial Translations: Hospital Architecture and the Status of the Human in Architectural Epistemology’, Julie Zook (University of Illinois)
  • ‘Community Translation in the Intersection Between Scientific Papers and Graphic Medicine’, Ingrid Cobos López (University of Córdoba)

11:30–13:00 | Panel 5: Translating Mental Health and Disability from Psychedelics to Horticulture
Chaired by Carolina Rau (University of Oslo)

  • ‘St Jerome’s Pharmacy: Translation Studies and the Psychedelic Renaissance’, Jan Buts (Boğaziçi University)
  • ‘From Indigeneity to Trips to Trials: Translating Psychedelics and Their Use’, Tony Sandset (University of Oslo)
  • ‘The Green Clinic: Sohbet in St. Mary's Secret Garden’, Ankhi Mukherjee (University of Oxford)
  • ‘Translating Non-Normative Mental Health in Hindi Literature’, Adarsh Yadav (University of Exeter)

13:00–14:00 | Lunch

14:00–15:00 | Panel 6: Translation as Transculturation: Exploring Disciplinary Crossings
Chaired by Jan Buts (Boğaziçi University)

  • ‘Cultural Translations and Categorical Transmutations of the Pathographical Self: Towards a Trans-Cultural Medical Humanities’, Sakshi Srivastava (Banaras Hindu University)
  • ‘Translation and Exclusion: Entanglements in Medical Humanities’, Monika Class (Lund University)
  • ‘Cultural Mediation and Translation of Intermittence and Temps perdu’, Larry Duffy (University of Kent)

15:00–16:00 | Panel 7: On (M)Otherhood
Chaired by Henry Jones (University of Manchester)

  • ‘A Translational and Ethnonarrative Approach to Rehumanize Women’s Birthing Experience’, Julie Boéri (Hamad Bin Khalifa University)
  • ‘Bodies Within: Translating Abortion Into Legal Citizenship’, Carolina Rau (University of Oslo)
  • ‘Decolonizing Maternal Healthcare Through Interpreting’, Luciana Carvalho Fonseca (University of São Paulo) and Şebnem Susam-Saraeva (University of Edinburgh)

16:00–16:15 | Coffee Break

16:15–17:30 | Panel 8: Translating the Non-Verbal: Trauma, Screams and Gesture from the Classical Period to the Contemporary
Chaired by Suzanne Jones (University of Oxford)

  • ‘Being Human in Graeco-Roman Treatments by Pretence’, Brian Hurwitz (King’s College London)
  • ‘Thanasis Veggos’ Overappropriation of a Gesture, or the Re- emergence of Hysteria in Modern Greece’, Orestis Tzirtzilakis (University of Oxford)
  • ‘Gesture as Physician’s Silent Scream’, Magdalena Szpilman (Medical Translator)
  • ‘“Unspeakable Things Spoken”: Translating Trauma into Bodies and Images in the Works of Toni Morrison and Elsa Morante’, Katrin Wehling-Giorgi (Durham University)

17:30–18:30 | Panel 9: Round Table and Performance on Embodied Translations in the Creative Medical Humanities
Chaired by Matthew Reynolds (University of Oxford)

  • ‘Health Rhymes with Death’, Nicola Gardini (University of Oxford)
  • ‘A Vital Practice: Translating Narrative Prothesis in Émile Zola’s L’Assommoir’, Magdala Lissa Jeudy (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
  • ‘Translating Symbolism into Precision Medicine’, Banafshé Larijani (University of Bath)
  • ‘“I Shiver a Little, I Shudder a Little:” Gist Translation and Uncanny Bodily Knowledges’, Alison Phipps and Tawona Sithole (University of Glasgow and UNESCO)

18:30–19:15 | Keynote: ‘Health, Ecology, and Activism: The Dark Side of Translation’
Mona Baker (University of Oslo)

19:15–19:45 | Closing Remarks & Wine Reception