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17th Annual Conference in Citizenship Studies: Health and Well-Being

Date and time

April 2-4, 2020

About the conference

The health of populations and individuals are inescapably intertwined with the health of the body politic. For example, states sustain the health of the body politic by providing for the health of citizens and the communities to which they belong. Activities designed to sustain the health of the body and the body politic often have unintended consequences. Are medical technologies and healthcare institutions defining new forms of citizenship and potentially altering older forms of political belonging?

Threats to the health of individual citizens and communities, such as lack of access to clean water, can indeed endanger the health of the body politic. Water shortages in Central America, famine in East Africa, the opioid epidemic in the United States are all conditions that destabilize communities by compromising the health of individuals and communities. The causes of these threats to the health of citizens are complex. They often involve such things as the politics of climate change, histories of sectarian violence, economics of health care, and systems of health care delivery, as well as the structural inequalities of race, class, and gender. Finding meaningful solutions to such complex problems requires gaining a better understanding of the dynamic relationships of health and citizenship.

To engage in debate and discussion of issues involving health and citizenship, the Center for the Study of Citizenship invites proposals for its 17th annual conference. Examples of possible topics in health and citizenship include:

Aging: As people and populations age, how ought we change our definitions of health? What obligations do communities have to the health of their members across the lifespan? In what way should concepts of citizenship be accounted for in end-of-life decisions? 

Bodily integrity: How ought privacy protections of citizens overlap with respect for the individual’s bodily integrity?

Biopolitics: How do states police and regulate the bodies and lives of citizens; what are the intersections between “bodily” sovereignty and that of the nation-state?

Civic health: In what ways ought metaphors of health inform our ideas about what we think of as “vital” communities and “healthy” civic life? 

Climate change: How do the likely health and social impacts of climate change affect our notions of citizenship? How can citizenship norms be applied to face the impending health and societal challenges posed by climate change?

Disabilities: In what ways have norms of citizenship excluded differently-abled citizens from civic participation? How ought norms of citizenship and civic participation be redefined in order to make them more accessible and inclusive?

Disparities: How do our conceptions and interpretations of citizenship perpetuate or counteract health disparities within and across our communities?

Environmental health: How do we understand and maintain the relationships between environments and citizens? How ought citizens sustain the health of environments that sustain them? What does the decline in biodiversity imply for practices of environmental citizenship?

Health care access: Is universal access to health care a citizen’s right? What obligations ought states have to provide access to health care?

Immunizations: What rights and obligations ought citizens have regarding the question of whether to immunize their children or get immunized themselves? How do we balance individual decisions about health care and the health of the community?

Mental health: What is the relationship between our norms of citizenship and our ideas of mental health or practices of mindfulness? In what ways do experiences of citizenship and the capacity for mental health and well-being influence each other? Does mindful meditation contribute to the construction and maintenance of community?

Public health: What is the relationship between our norms of citizenship and the health of the population? How do efforts to improve and protect the health of the population intersect with notions of citizenship?

Social determinants of health: How do our notions of citizenship inform efforts to address the social determinants of health?

Well-being: What is well-being? How does the well-being of the community relate to the individual’s well-being?

International scholars

Through the generosity of center donors, The Keast Lion Fund provides a limited number of scholarships for international scholars. These funds will be distributed on a competitive basis. Scholarships include three nights of lodging and a discounted conference registration rate for the participant, but no transportation. If you wish to be considered for a scholarship, please indicate it in your abstract submission. 

For international scholars who submit proposals by September 6, 2019, the program committee will make early decisions about acceptance and scholarships by September 20, 2019.

Future conference themes

  • 2021 Mobility/Immobility, March 18-20
  • 2022 Learning Citizenship, March 31-April 2
  • 2023 20th Anniversary of the Center for the Study of Citizenship 
  • 2024 75th Anniversary of T. H. Marshall’s lecture, “Citizenship and Social Class”