Law, Difference, and Healthcare: Making Sense of Structural Racism in Medico-Legal History
The Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies and the Department of History at Princeton University are hosting a conference and workshop on “Law, Difference, and Healthcare: Making Sense of Structural Racism in Medico-Legal History.” Our gathering will be 1-1/2 days long to be held from Thursday to Friday afternoon of June 6—7, 2019. Our keynote speakers will be author of Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology Deirdre Cooper Owens and author of Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care Dayna Bowen Matthew.
This workshop shall convene graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and faculty who employ historical methodologies in their work. Our focus will be to examine the qualities and conditions that have produced the spaces, laws, and legalities that structure racism in medicine, healthcare, public health, and related social policy. In recent decades, many of these areas have been addressed through studies of the construction of “race” and genomics, specific diseases, clinical medicine, and medical institutions.
Much work remains, however, to historicize the sociological concept of structural racism. Our workshop will remix approaches in the history of medicine and legal history. What does a medico-legal history that accounts for both individual and collective racism in medicine, space, law and its legalities look like? What historiographical interventions are today’s scholarship making? What new methodologies and archives are emerging?
Despite extensive work on structural determinants of health and the history of medical racism, racialized health disparities persist in the United States and globally. We will consider structural dimensions of health that have long been relegated to the margins of the field. Some oft-neglected sites of care in the medico-legal historiography include: adult education, affordable child care, bias in medical education, corporatization of healthcare, disaster management, drug treatment, food pantries, health promotion, housing advocacy, insurance navigation, job (re-)training, neighborhood health clinics, mental health, medical intern and nurses unions, migrant health, prisoner re-entry, pre-natal care, “safety-net” hospitals, syringe exchange, and welfare bureaus.
By connecting and comparing different approaches, our workshop will be geared toward solidifying the state of the field via an edited volume composed of original history essays. With an unforeseeable range of possibilities for illustrating law, difference, and structural racism in healthcare, we are open to a wide range of proposals. As such, possible papers might:
· Describe the historiography of medicine & law with regards to racism
· Account for the interplay of racism with sexual, gender, and other social differences
· Consider the instantiation of structural racism in the built environment
· Define “structural racism” vis-vis medical, public health, or social policy history
· Offer unique archival, oral history, and social science perspectives & methodologies
· Account for geographies of health and differential access to sites of care
· Deconstruct the tenets of value-neutrality and “objectivity” of medical science
· Consider the deployment of “race” in medical and scientific practice
· Apply Critical Race Theory, Black Radical Tradition, or other frameworks to history
· Address the medico-legal histories of Latinx and other underrepresented groups
· Explain the inscription of racialized social difference through law and policy
· Elucidate the racialized political economy of healthcare
· Propose new ways of seeing social difference in law and healthcare
· Historicize the tensions between layperson expertise and medical education
· Conduct critical analyses of the logics and epistemologies of “race” in medicine