“Feminist Phenomenology, Medicine, Bioethics, and Health”
International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics
Special Issue 11.1
Department of Philosophy
University of Louisville
Although by no means mainstream, phenomenological approaches to bioethics and philosophy of medicine are no longer novel. Such approaches take the lived body – as opposed the body understood as a material, biological object – as a point of departure. Such approaches are also invested in a detailed examination and articulation of a plurality of diverse subjective experiences, as opposed to reifying experience under the rubric of “the subject” or “the patient.” Phenomenological approaches to bioethics and medicine have broached topics such as pain, trauma, illness, death, and bodily alienation – to name just a few – and our understandings of these topics have benefitted from and are deepened by being analyzed using the tools of phenomenology.
There is also a rich history of approaching phenomenology from a feminist perspective. Combining these two approaches and methodologies has furthered our understandings of lived experiences of marginalization, invisibility, nonnormativity, and oppression. Approaching phenomenology from a feminist perspective has also broadened the subject matter of traditional phenomenology to include analyses of sexuality, sexual difference, pregnancy, and birth. Moreover, feminist phenomenological accounts of embodiment have also helped to broaden more traditional philosophical understandings and discussions of what singular bodies are and of how they navigate the world as differently sexed, gendered, racialized, aged, weighted, and abled. Feminist phenomenological accounts and analyses have helped to draw to the fore the complicated ways in which identities intersect and have made the case that if we are really to understand first person embodied accounts of experience, then a traditional phenomenological account of “the subject” simply does not suffice.
The aim of this special issue is to explore and develop the connections between feminist phenomenology, philosophy of medicine, bioethics, and health. The issue will consider on the one hand, how feminist phenomenology can enhance and deepen our understanding of issues within medicine, bioethics, and health, and on the other hand, whether and how feminist approaches to medicine, bioethics, and health can help to advance the phenomenological project.
Topics appropriate to the special issue include, but are not limited to, feminist phenomenological analyses and/or critiques of:
• Health, illness, and healthcare
• Social determinants of health (e.g., food justice, environmental justice, labor equity, transnational inequities)
• Negotiating medical bureaucracies and access to care
• Health/care in constrained circumstances (i.e., in prisons, as migrants, in conditions without secure health insurance)
• Sex and gender
• Rape, sexual violence, or domestic violence
• Transgender and trans* experiences of embodiment, health, or healthcare
• Intersex experiences of embodiment, health, or healthcare
• Death and dying
• Palliative care and end of life
• Caregiving for ill friends, family members, and children
• Pregnancy, labor, childbirth
• Abortion, contraception, sterilization
• Organ transplantation
• Cosmetic surgery
• Body weight
• Mental illness
• Physical and cognitive disability
Word limit for essays: 8000 words.
IJFAB also welcomes submissions in these additional categories:
• Conversations provide a forum for public dialogue on particular issues in bioethics. Scholars engaged in fruitful exchanges are encouraged to share those discussions here. Submissions for this section are usually 3,000–5,000 words.
• Commentaries offer an opportunity for short analyses (under 4,000 words) of specific policy issues, legislation, court decisions, or other contemporary developments within bioethics.
• Narratives often illuminate clinical practice or ethical thinking. IJFAB invites narratives that shed light on aspects of health, health care, or bioethics. Submissions for the section are usually in the range of 3,000–5,000 words.
Deadline for submissions: February 1, 2017
Anonymous review: All submissions are subject to triple anonymous peer review. The Editorial Office aims to return an initial decision to authors within eight weeks. Authors are frequently asked to revise and resubmit based on extensive reviewer comments. The Editorial Office aims to return a decision on revised papers within four-six weeks.
Submissions should be sent to EditorialOffice [at] IJFAB.org indicating special issue “Feminist Phenomenology and Medicine” in the subject heading.
All submissions should conform to IJFAB style guidelines. For further details, please check the IJFAB website. For further information regarding the special issue please contact Lauren Freeman at
Lauren.Freeman [at] louisville [dot] edu